Nine-year-old friends Sage Tonkin and Anna Van Den Heuvel from Newcastle, NSW, have turned their passion for books into a celebration of reading aimed at raising money for our Foundation.
The two school friends were inspired by their studies in Indigenous history and culture at St Therese’s Primary School in New Lambton, and decided to investigate a way to lend a helping hand to other kids in Australian remote communities, so they could gain access to the same books and learning materials that they have.
“I knew about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation because some of my favourite authors like Andy Griffiths and Alison Lester support it,” says Sage.
“We wanted to raise some money and give it to this foundation because they supply great books to Indigenous children all over Australia. We came up with the idea to run a second-hand book stall at our school – we asked the school community to donate their used children’s books which is a form of recycling, then we sold them to our friends and schoolmates so they got some amazing new books to read, and we then donated the money we raised to the ILF so the joy of reading can reach even further. It was a win/win for everyone!”
The girls had an initial fundraising goal of $120 and were overjoyed to raise a total of $1169!
“We couldn’t believe how much support we received for our book stall. Everyone loved buying something new to read and by doing that, they supported Indigenous kids getting new books too. The book stall was so much fun to organise and run and we can’t wait to turn this idea into a yearly fundraiser,” says Sage.
St Therese’s Assistant Principal Kaylean Maretich says having access to really great literature is important for children so they can go on amazing journeys within their minds and learn about different people and cultures.
“The ILF is doing a wonderful job in giving all children access to books. Research has shown that reading helps children become more expressive, be better writers, it makes them good communicators and it gives them a platform for their imaginations to soar,” says Kaylene.
“I’m very proud of Sage and Anna because they are both avid readers themselves and reached out to the ILF to try and find a way they could help. It’s also so important to teach our children to be global citizens and reach out to those that need a helping hand and participate in outreach work – it’s just so wonderful to see.”
The book stall at St Therese’s Primary School finished with a simultaneous reading time across the school, where Anna and Sage chose books written by Indigenous authors for each classroom teacher to read to each grade at the same time, to celebrate Indigenous literacy.
Photography by Lizzie Watkin.