Children’s Books Ireland and KPMG are delivering the joy of reading this Christmas by gifting 4,500 books to children in Ireland who are experiencing hardship. With the help of charity partners – including Barnardos, Children in Hospital, The Peter McVerry Trust and St. Vincent de Paul, the books will be delivered to 33 locations across Ireland. These gifts will reach children and families in homelessness services, hospitals, Direct Provision centres and Traveller communities just in time for Christmas.

As we face into another uncertain Christmas, these books will bring comfort and joy to children who may not have a book of their own to read, or a present for them under the tree. With reading for just six minutes a day shown to reduce stress levels by 68% (300% more than going for a walk), a book is the perfect present for children living in difficult circumstances or experiencing illness.

This book­–gifting project follows another successful year of partnership between Children’s Books Ireland and KPMG, with whom Children’s Books Ireland launched ‘Free To Be Me: The Diversity, Inclusion and Representation Project’ in September. Many of the books gifted to children this Christmas are included in the Free To Be Me reading guide, which allows children to see characters like themselves represented in books and to develop empathy and solidarity with those whose stories differ from their own.

KPMG Managing Partner Seamus Hand reflects the enthusiasm of the entire firm for this great project: “At KPMG, we recognise and support the value of education for children to enable them to have a better future. Reading is a vitally important and immensely enjoyable aspect of this.  That’s why we are delighted to support Children’s Books Ireland in this wonderful initiative which will help children all over Ireland access books, develop this skill and have some fun!”

Commenting on the benefits of book gifting Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland said: “Last Christmas we saw the joy felt by thousands of children when we gave them a book of their own. In some cases, it was the only book they had. 2021 has been equally tough on many families. These books will lift children’s spirits at Christmastime and give them a gift they can come back to over and over. We are so grateful to KPMG for their ongoing commitment to supporting children’s reading, which helps us work towards our vision: every child a reader.”

Barnardo’s are one of the beneficiaries of the programme and according to Mary Gamble, Director of Fundraising, Retail and Communications at Barnardo’s: “We are delighted to receive this wonderful donation of books from KPMG and Children’s Books Ireland. Every year Barnardo’s works with 18,000 vulnerable children and families and we know Christmas can be really tough. To be able to gift so many children a new book just for them this year in time for Christmas is truly magical.”