Baby Hudson gets first Storyfest book donation for 2023

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Mum Nina Groves and baby Hudson were happy to receive their Storyfest tote bag reading pack

Longreach baby Hudson Groves and his mother Nina have received the first of 100 special reading packs donated by a Queensland literary organisation to the Central West Hospital and Health Service.

The packs were donated by Somerset Storyfest, a nationally recognised youth literature organisation based on the Gold Coast and were recently delivered to Longreach Hospital for distribution to all babies born at the hospital in 2023.

Hudson was born at Longreach Hospital on 5 January and the Groves family lives in Longreach, although mum Nina hails originally from Windorah.

“This is a great initiative, and we are very pleased to partner with Storyfest to deliver these packs to all our babies and their families in 2023,’’ Longreach Hospital Acting Director of Nursing Susanne Bardon said.

Ms Bardon said the families of babies already born at Longreach would be contacted so they too could receive their Storyfest reading pack.

Storyfest Chief Executive Officer Andrea Lewis said throughout the year, the organisation hosted a series of events connecting its audience with books and authors.

“For instance, in July 2022, we held a two-day children’s writers’ festival in Longreach – Storyfest Out West – and we plan to host another festival during 2023 as part of our outreach program,’’ Ms Lewis said.

“Our annual festival on the Gold Coast engages over 70 schools from throughout Queensland and NSW.’’

“We are also committed to providing opportunities for disadvantaged children and regions, which is why we are engaging with local hospital maternity services to provide reading packs for their newborn babies and their parents to take home with them.’’

Ms Lewis said each tote bag was a calico bag holding a board book for babies.

“We are also including a copy of our Storyfest Out West Programme (2022) and this gives folks an idea of who we are and what we do,’’ she said.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with both the Longreach and Emerald hospitals to provide a literacy pack to new families for all babies born in these hospitals in 2023.’’

“With literacy rates in Queensland currently sitting at 45 per cent with a literacy level below 3, now more than ever, we need to be nurturing and providing opportunities to ensure that books get into homes of Queenslanders as early as possible.’’

“What better way than to start promoting literature as gift when the baby is born!’’

“The team from the State Library of Queensland have done an amazing job throughout 2022with the ‘First 5 Forever’ family literacy program which promotes strong early literacy in children aged up to five years.’’

“We’re hoping our literacy tote bag program will help support our regional families.’’

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