When the community of children’s book people lost Jay Healein late 2021, we lost one of our greatest friends.
Jay was often called Mr Book by people who knew him well – always with a smile. Usually, they were remembering a shared story, an adventure, an experience; a book.
As a teacher, Jay inspired thousands of children over his long career – usually with an appropriate book. Adults he had known as children would come up to him with hands outstretched. ‘Mr Heale,’ they would say with delight, ‘you changed my life!’
To honour his memory, CBN intends to hold a special book workshop every year. We would have liked it to be on his birthday (28th June) but exams and school holidays got in the way. On the 22nd July, thirty children streamed in to Enlighten Education Trust in Zwelihle (Hermanus), braving very cold weather to attend an exciting programme of books and reading activities. The highlight was a team game devised by our heroic workshop manager, Wilien van Zyl which involved following clues in Jay’s own books – a treasure hunt that Jay would have enjoyed more than anyone.
When Jay moved to Napier Retirement Village, he donated his children’s book collection to the Enlighten library, so it was particularly appropriate to remember his vast contribution to both children and books in this place and to remember him. With love.
This workshop was funded by Mary Cadogan in Ireland, who has attended many CBN workshops and who knew Jay as a friend.
With many thanks to Enlighten Education Trust for our strong connection and for the amazing work they do for children.