Books Make Things Better

For Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir 2020, the Arts Council and Children’s Books Ireland are encouraging families to open up Irish culture by opening a book together and sharing a story at bedtime. The campaign launches today, 14 September, with the release of the Books Make Things Better reading guide, which highlights the best Irish children’s books of 2020. An accompanying book-gifting programme will support children least likely to have access to a book to read by gifting 1,000 books to children and young people in schools, direct provision centres and family hubs across Ireland.

‘On Culture Night, over one thousand children will have the joy of immersing themselves in a brilliant Irish picturebook and knowing that children all over Ireland are reading that same story,’ said Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland. ‘With the Books Make Things Better reading guide, we hope we can lead children, young people and their families to discover great new books, while also supporting Irish authors, illustrators and publishers.’

‘Ireland boasts a wealth of artistic talent that, this year more than ever, we must promote and support,’ said Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly. ‘Our goals for Culture Night in 2020 are that it represents the vitality of art across diverse communities, that it acknowledges the value that art brings to all our lives, and its essential role in promoting wellbeing within society.’

The Books Make Things Better reading guide features 123 Irish authors, illustrators and translators, 13 Irish publishers, and original cover artwork by Belfast illustrator Oliver Jeffers. It will be distributed free of charge through participating bookshops and libraries nationwide and is available to view or download here.

Following a difficult year for the Irish literature sector, the Books Make Things Better campaign will:

– Support Irish authors, illustrators, translators and publishers both through book sales and visibility

– Help create a sense of community and belonging by encouraging families to share a book at bedtime on Culture Night

– Drive footfall to local bookshops and libraries

– Ensure that children who are most in need and have least access to the arts and culture are given an equal opportunity to experience the joy of reading

Join us in celebrating Irish children’s literature on social media using #BooksMakeThingsBetter. As readers, we gain so much from the worlds writers and illustrators give to us; now is the time to show them that books really can make things better for all of us.

On Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir, children are invited to share a magical bedtime story with Patricia Forde, with illustrations by Nicola Bernardelli and original musical score by Anna Mullarkey. Find out more here.

The Books Make Things Better reading guide and book gifting project is a partnership initiative of Children’s Books Ireland and The Arts Council for Culture Night 2020.