Babies born this year in Queensland hospitals will get an early start on literacy with a free board book following the launch of A Book for Every Little Queenslander, as part of the Queensland Government’s First 5 Forever program.
“The board book, Shoosh! by Queensland-raised author Simon Howe, tells a joyful, funny, and heartfelt tale of bedtime sounds and adventure, and will be available to new parents through the Bounty Bag network, delivered through hospitals, antenatal clinics, chemists, GPs, obstetricians, and ultrasound clinics,” Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said.
Simon Howe is an illustrator, author and animator, and is best known for his work animating the music videos for children’s music group Teeny Tiny Stevies.
“A Book for Every Little Queenslander aims to connect families with this fresh new Queensland story, giving our little ones the best start to early literacy,” said Ms Enoch.
“This new campaign follows on from the successful Stories for Little Queenslanders series produced by State Library in 2020, which featured 12 picture books, including Shoosh!, all written and illustrated by Queensland authors and illustrators, and available in Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres.
“Now new babies can have their very own Shoosh! board book from this popular series.”
Minister Enoch said the First 5 Forever program will provide strong early literacy foundations for Queensland children aged 0-5.
“First 5 Forever is an initiative of the Queensland Government, coordinated by State Library of Queensland and delivered in partnership with local government, through Queensland’s network of public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres,” Minister Enoch said.
“A Book for Every Little Queenslander helps deliver on the Queensland Government’s Creative Together 2020–2030 roadmap for the arts, culture and creativity, and its priority to share our stories and celebrate our storytellers by providing every little Queenslander with an illustrated story book.
State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald AM said, “It is never too early for new parents to start reading to their children which is why this initiative and First 5 Forever is so important.”
“Sharing fun Queensland stories like Shoosh! is a great way to spark a life-long love of books and learning,” Ms McDonald said.
“We know in the first years of life over one million new connections are made every second in a child’s brain, so talking, reading, singing and playing all help build a strong foundation for a child’s future development.”
Shoosh! author Simon Howe said, “It is a tremendous honour to be selected for the Bounty Bag initiative”.
“Having grown up in Queensland, I was excited to create something to celebrate the sights, sounds and smells so synonymous with that childhood,” Mr Howe said.
“As a parent myself, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to work with State Library to champion early literacy.”