New Zealand’s rich landscape, its people and the authors who write about it are taking centre stage in a new reading initiative being rolled out by HELL to help lift declining reading rates.
Building on eight successful years, The Great NZ Book Trip is a brand-new addition to the 2022 HELL Reading Challenge and is designed to take children on a virtual book trip -or relive their own road trips – around Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Celebrating Kiwi authors and their stories about NZ, it features comprehensive unit plans created alongside the New Zealand curriculum for teachers to use in classroom learning, live readings by award-winning authors, and an interactive map to help children chart their own journeys. The Great NZ Book Trip is available to all schools and libraries participating in the 2022 Reading Challenge.
Siang Tay, Marketing Manager for HELL, says that the Book Trip is a fun way to get tamariki interested in reading and learning more about the places they may have visited since Covid closed borders.
“Reading needs to be fun, and the Reading Challenge has always been about encouraging children to read more. Classroom learning has been significantly disrupted since the pandemic began. In launching this we want to make it even easier for teachers and schools to integrate the Challenge into everyday learning. We also want to encourage children to discover and learn more about New Zealand’s incredible authors,” he says.
The Reading Challenge has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2014 and is one of New Zealand’s most successful national reading initiatives – with more than two million books being read by children since its inception. Students taking part in the Challenge need to read seven books to complete their pizza wheel, which they can then redeem for a free kids’ pizza at HELL.
The New Zealand Book Awards Trust administers the Reading Challenge alongside the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. NZ Book Awards Chair Nicola Legat says they’re laser-focused on encouraging more children to read.
“What better way to do this than with an initiative that celebrates our homegrown authors and their wonderful books, many of which have featured in our annual book awards. We salute HELL for funding this additional layer of engagement that will complement the 2022 Reading Challenge and awards, as well as our Books Alive author event programmes.”
Authors Tania Roxborogh and Kate Parker – both double-winners at the 2021 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – will host two of the first live author readings in May and June. Children will also have the opportunity to interact and ask questions of the authors when their classes tune in.
Siang Tay says Aotearoa has many stories to tell and hopes travelling around the motu by book will inspire a generation of avid readers.
“We’ve all been exploring our backyards more due to Covid. We want to connect tamariki with their journeys through the eyes of our award-winning authors, too, unlocking destinations and adventures that every child can experience while establishing a lifelong love of reading.”
Established in Wellington in 1996, HELL Pizza has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most infamous and well-known brands. With 74 franchises throughout New Zealand and more than 1100 staff, it produces more than 75,000 free-range pizzas every week. With a focus on quality, it offers Kiwi consumers an ethical option in convenience foods. HELL supports a range of causes, including the New Zealand Book Awards and IHC’s Project Active, and is an active member of the communities in which it operates.
About the HELL Reading Challenge:
Now in its ninth year, The HELL Reading Challenge rewards students with a free 333 kids’ pizza once they have read seven books and had their achievement approved by a local librarian or teacher. In 2021, more than 720 schools and public libraries around New Zealand took part and over 250,000 pizza wheels were distributed. Funded by HELL, the programme is administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which also governs the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day. To learn more, visit HELL Reading Challenge.