At BUSHkids in Mt Isa, ILF book supply packs have been arriving since 2014.
‘We get very excited when the books come,’ says Lynette Stenhouse, the Family Health Support Worker. ‘We have a good look through them and figure out how best to use them with the kids.’
BUSKkids is a not-for-profit community organisation in Mt Isa, in the Gulf Country of Queensland, some 1830 km north-west of Brisbane and 904 km west of Townsville. Operating in Mt Isa for the past 20 years, it offers early intervention, evidence based support, working directly with children aged from infancy to 6 years and their parents.
Books 4 Toddlers, Books 4 Children and Books 4 Community packs were all delivered to BUSHkids in 2015, but the picture books especially have been a great success. The health workers have used them in a variety of ways, depending on the specific needs of the children and their families. For instance, the speech therapist uses them to help develop language skills, talking about the pictures and playing word and sound games with the kids. And there’s always a great demand for them in the waiting room, where the books by Indigenous authors and illustrators have proved very popular with siblings of all ages.
‘Tina [Raye, Program Manager at ILF] has been great, giving us lots of ideas,’ Lynette says.
Some of the books are useful in helping kids learn to understand more about everyday things like toileting, or occasional situations like going to the doctor. Often kids are scared of this, Lynette explains, but the stories can give them a good idea of exactly what’s involved.
Lynette also takes boxes of the books to the kindies she visits in the MT Isa area. She reads to the kids, and gets them talking about the stories, what they’ve seen and heard.
‘The books are awesome,’ Lynette says, ‘and the parents really appreciate that their kids have access to them.’
BUSKkids celebrates NAIDOC Week every year, and in 2014 was able to distribute some of the books they received to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families living in Mt Isa, families that otherwise had no or few books in the home.
‘I tell everyone about you guys [ILF],’ Lynette says. ‘It’s fantastic.’
NOTE: Image is from another Book Supply Program on the Tiwi Islands (no images available from BUSHkids at Mt Isa)