Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Beep, beep! Here come Book Bus Matilda...

After a journey of more than 8,000 miles across the wide oceans, stunning desert landscapes and three country borders, Book Bus Matilda finally arrived at her new home in Malawi. 

The children of Mangochi welcome Matilda 

Over the next few years Matilda will be our mobile library bringing much needed books to children on our reading programmes. 

Our Book Bus literacy project moved to Mangochi in central Malawi in 2015. Located by the great Lake Malawi, it is an area with the highest illiteracy rate in the country with over 35% of the population unable to read. We aim to help to tackle this with literacy support programmes.

Our local project team has been delivering a reading and literacy programme to 100s of children every day… but without the use of an actual Book Bus. The local team used bikes, backpacks and their own leg power to walk to schools to bring the joy of reading to their local community.

Mike Masumba 
“Of course we were always welcomed by teachers and pupils alike,“ said Book Bus Project Manager Mike Masumba. “The children looked forward to our visit to read books and take part in all the activities we offer to help a child learn how to read. However sometimes the children asked why we were called the Book Bus. ‘Where’s the Bus?’ they’d ask inquisitively. We always said, “One day we will have a Book Bus in Mangochi – it will happen!” Mike said. 

And it did happen thanks to the generous people of Motovun – a consortium of European publishers. 

“We were keen to support a charity that promotes reading and the book, “ said Jean Arcache from Motovun.  “We all loved the work of the Book Bus as it is run by local teams, works in partnership with teachers and puts the book at the centre of learning for literacy", he concluded. 

Matilda always attracts a crowd! 
From the moment Matilda arrived, she’s had a big impact in the local area. Wherever the Book Bus goes, children follow, attracted by the wonderful Quentin Blake illustrations that adorn all of our Book Buses. 

“We hope that Matilda will get more and more children curious about books and reading,“ says Mike. “This way we will be well on our way to create a permanent reading culture in our community and help children become more independent and in control of their own lives as they grow up to become adults”. 

You can help keep our Book Buses on the road by adopting Matilda from as little as £5 a month. 

From the page to the waves - a broadcast from Puerto Lopez

Our pioneering Book Bus team in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, are always coming up with new ways to engage locals with the world of books and learning. Their latest venture is a radio programme that encourages good educational habits, with a focus on children's reading.

The weekly programme is primarily aimed at parents, Arturo Rodriguez, Book Bus Project Coordinator in the region, explains. "We want to encourage them to read to their kids regularly. But also, the parents really enjoy it themselves." The programme features fun stories, as well as discussion and advice. It's already received glowing reviews and the team look forward to connecting more with locals through the airwaves.

But the creativity doesn't end there. Music has always played a big part in Book Bus activities, and the kids love it! So our talented Arturo, with the help of singer Sylvia Reilly, volunteers and locals, has created a song for the Book Bus, aptly called Love we Love. The video was filmed in Puerto Lopez and features a lot of friendly faces! Check it out here.