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Norwich bookshop wins national grant to get kids reading this summer

PUBLISHED: 16:08 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 08 August 2019

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Rebecca MacNaughton

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Rebecca MacNaughton

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A city centre bookshop has been awarded £1,500 from HarperCollins, the UK's second largest publisher, as part of a new scheme to get children reading.

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

Bake a cake, build a bug hotel or even write a rap.

These are just a few of the things that The Book Hive is encouraging kids to do this summer, as it unveils its new 'Book Explorers' reward scheme.

The initiative has been supported by a £1,500 grant from the UK's second largest publisher, HarperCollins, and combines fun, hands-on activities with six collectable iron-on patches - similar to those earned by Brownies and Scouts.

"For a long time we have wanted to create a reward scheme for kids that really is FOR kids," says Joe Hedinger, who has been a bookseller at the independent bookshop on London Street, Norwich, for the last two years.

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

"The whole idea is to make it welcoming," he says. "It shouldn't be intimidating. We didn't want it to be exclusionary, or for people to have to pay for the patches - everything is free."

Primary-aged children are encouraged to read a book and then complete a themed activity sheet before returning, in store, to collect their patch. There are six patches available, covering everything from history, food and magic to space, nature and dinosaurs.

"We didn't want it to feel like a tick box or chore that turns reading into a task," says Joe. "We want kids to see books as a start - not an end - and reward that."

The activities - which invite children to dress up like their favourite character, make a comic book or try a new food - have been designed by storyteller Laura Higgins and cater to a variety of learning styles. After all, says Joe, reading doesn't need to be a 'quiet' task.

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

"The whole emphasis is on trying to see books as a door into a world of ideas," he says. "It's a great way to get kids inspired and to explore the world. It's not always a quiet thing, or something you do in the corner. Book Explorers aims to explode expectations on what reading can be."

There are 300 patches in total (50 of each design), all of which have been designed by East London artist Belinda Chen.

Design and production costs have been funded through HarperCollins' Literary Project Grant, a nationwide scheme announced earlier this year which saw independent bookshops across the country go head to head for funding to boost children's literacy. The Book Hive was one of 12 lucky winners.

"The grant has allowed us to hire a really talented designer, and pay her properly," says Joe.

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

"We've also been able to schedule four events throughout the summer with Laura, who we've worked with before. Her goal is to inspire confidence, creativity and imagination through books - and she really does get them moving!"

Book Explorers events will take place on Friday August 9, Friday August 16, and Friday August 30 with Laura Higgins. For more information, pop into The Book Hive.

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

The Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda ChenThe Book Hive in Norwich has unveiled a new reward scheme to encourage children to see the magic of books. Picture: Belinda Chen

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