On the 27th of February 2022, many in my hometown of Lismore NSW went to bed knowing that when they woke up they would be surrounded by flood waters.
Much to everyone’s horror, this was not the case the water was much higher than predicted and by 3 am many were waist deep in water inside the second story of their homes. They were scared and freezing the official channels unable to help they were told to climb on their roof and wait.
The next morning saw ordinary people do amazing things hundreds of locals found whatever watercraft they could to risk their lives to save the community it was heartwrenching but also a beautiful display of humanity.
As the days passed the water spread and the damage ravished the area and the damage was unimaginable. We are now 5 months on and thousands of people are still homeless, living in tents, sheds or within the shell of their gutted houses.
I don’t think people outside the area realise that there is still so many people trying to rebuild their lives in any way they can, coach hoping with their children even people still stuck in ‘temporary accomodation’ cycles being moved from motel to motel in cities to far from there support network.
While all the grown ups pull together to rebuild homes ‘The Read to Recover Project’ aims to help children in this area start to rebuild their little libraries and aid in the recovery process, though it is only a small token, having something to own and escape into can make a huge difference to a little one who has lost everything.
Book ownership is important, the National Literacy Trust (UK) reports Those who don’t have a book of their own at home are twice as likely to have low mental wellbeing than they are to have high mental wellbeing (Book ownership, literacy engagement and mental wellbeing, 2018). Many of these families have been living on adrenaline for months now, ‘Studies in students have found reading to decrease the arousal of the sympathetic nervous system while simultaneously reducing stress.’ (Why Read Australia)
Books are a great way to escape, forget your troubles and relax. I would love to give as many children in the area as possible that opportunity, even just for a few minutes.
You can donate a book to ‘The Read to Recover Project’ via Sydney the Sloth‘s preorder campaign on Kickstarter. Choose the ‘Donate a Book’ option, you can give any number of books with ‘add-ons’ or choose one of our top tiers donating 25 or 100 books and receive a personal thank you and a certificate of appreciation.
As a self-published this is a way I can help give back, whilst still having capacity to store, ensure books are new, control quality and appropriate content. I have extended the invitation to participate to other self-published Australian authors who would like to donate books of their own to the project or campaign for book donations. In the future I would love to expand the project to include a wider range of books for children in similar situations.
Any child related services in the area are encouraged to request books for their service or children in their care (number of books only, no details of children to be given). They can do that by filling in this form.
Sending strength & love