Children nationwide will soon have the opportunity to meet their favourite Irish authors in a new and unique setting. The partnership between children’s publisher Little Island Books and BUMBLEance, The Children’s National Ambulance Service will see children’s authors visiting schools, festivals and libraries on board BUMBLEance to read from their work and to meet with children across primary and secondary schools nationwide.
The BOOKWORMS for BUMBLEance project provides a unique and exciting session for children of all ages, as they get to hear authors from Little Island Books reading from their own work and talking about why and how they write their books. Reading provides important supports for mental health, for empathy and understanding of other people’s illnesses and suffering, as well as many other benefits for young people, and so will be a perfect accompaniment to the work of the BUMBLEance. Gráinne Clear, publishing manager at Little Island Books said: ‘We have of course picked some of our most popular authors, but we also tried to pick those who have written about health and illness in a family. These include Christine Hamill, whose book The Best Medicine focuses on the struggles a child faces when his mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, and Siobhán Parkinson’s Miraculous Miranda, which deals with a young girl whose older sister is chronically ill and her feelings of powerlessness as a result of that.’
BUMBLEance, The Children’s National Ambulance Service, is delighted to be on board with the BOOKWORMS tour. BUMBLEance is the only ambulance of its kind in the world and is specifically designed and tailored for sick children. The BUMBLEance service transports critically and seriously ill children to and from their home, to paediatric hospitals, respite facilities and care centres throughout Ireland. The service also provides inter hospital transfers, the chemo cab service and Angel Trips. An Angel Trip is the final journey a child makes on earth before he or she grows their Angel Wings.
The BOOKWORMS BUMBLEance initiative was launched in an effort to educate young children about illness in an interactive, informative and fun environment and the program will showcase to children and teens how they can help and support sick children nationwide. Starting in March the ‘Bookworms for BUMBLEance’ road trips will visit schools in Dublin during its first two months and will also visit several Festivals and Events nationwide throughout 2017 and beyond.
Nicola O’ Sullivan, Head of Fundraising and Engagement at The Saoirse Foundation said: ‘At BUMBLEance we love to see children supporting sick children. We cannot wait to get our BOOKWORMS project on the road. We’d really like to hear from schools that would like us to visit with our PR BUMBLEance, we want to meet as many kids across the country as possible throughout 2017 and 2018.’
The project has been generously backed by the Arts Council and The Saoirse Foundation is hopeful of securing further funding for it in the future.