'Creating a cultural connection' by Molly Magennis
" A not-for-profit organisation based in Maidstone which collects and re-distributes books to Indigenous children have teamed up with a local primary school to help students culturally engage with peers from across the country.
In 2021 the organisation received a major grant from Maribyrnong Council’s 2022 Community Grants Program to start the Kalbarr Project, which aims to connect primary schools in Maribyrnong to those in remote communities. The project has since been backed and supported by member for Western Metropolitan Catherine Cummings.
Co-founder and Chairperson of Books n Boots John Harding said the program is all about fostering a relationship between the two communities, and in doing so help educate children about Indigenous culture and raise awareness of the health and education gaps they face.
“It is an important project of reconciliation, as it will allow the opportunity for the two groups of students to actually speak to each other, and develop relationships between schools in this electorate, and remote and regional communities,” he said.
St. Johns Librarian and Family Engagement Coordinator Daniela Delucasaid the school saw this project as an exciting chance to get involved with something that aligned with their core values.
“This project provides the opportunity for children to connect across different settings and contexts, whilst building friendships through an authentic experience. It also provides children with the opportunity for cross-cultural connection and understanding, bringing to light our value of diversity,” she said.
Mr Harding said while St. John’s is the first school to jump onboard, he hopes it is one of many.
“The beauty of this project is that the students can discuss whatever they feel is important to impart and [share] between each other, that’s what self-determination means in practice. The cultural exchange could touch on a wide variety of topics, food, entertainment, favourite TV shows, or sports.”
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ABC Everyday, 15th June 2021
'Why John and Tara are rescuing books from landfill' by Fernanda Fain-Binda
Imagine a truckload of picture books, delivered to kids with love.
That's the idea behind Books n Boots, a charity that saves pre-loved books from landfill and gets them to Indigenous communities in remote Australia.
The charity was set up by John Harding, a Meriam/Gu-Gu Yimider playwright and activist, and his partner Tara Newen, a welfare worker.
"I saw a post [online] from a woman who put out a request for people to donate books," John says.
"The schools don't get any money for picture books.
"And this woman, who's probably my cousin (because everyone on the islands is my cousin) was trying to help.
"I thought: 'Here I am living high on the hog in Maidstone and my little cousins can't access a book!'"
There was a big picture issue here too.
"Sharing a story is one of the oldest aspects of Aboriginal culture," John says.
"Even if it's in the form of a Dr. Seuss book, you're strengthening the bond between families and showing the kids words on a page."
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Tweed Valley Weekly, 12th April 2021
'Tweed sending books to outback kids', by Jo Kennett
'A Project aimed at closing the literacy gap for First Nations people will see books delivered from Murwillumbah to outback communities thanks largely to Tweed volunteers and businesses.
Volunteers will travel by truck from Murwillumbah to deliver over 1500 pre-loved and new books to school children in Mungindi, Toomelah, and Wilcannia this month as part of the grassroots Books n Boots Project'.
See below for full article
Tweed sending books to outback kids' By Jo Kennett
Tweed Valley Weekly
Books n Boots would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, work, and learn. We would like to pay respect to elders past, present, and emerging and recognise that sovereignty has never been ceded.
It always was and always will be Aboriginal land
Copyright Books n Boots 2020. All rights reserved
Books n Boots is a registered charity with DGR 1 status. All gift donations are tax-deductible