IP Institute is bringing its project to encourage children to read to the Amazonian capital for the first time
Imagine a city with an entrance gate made of giant books that open up to a place where children are completely free to travel the world of stories. This place exists and it is called “Book City,” a project to encourage reading geared towards children and adolescents, which International Paper Institute brought to Manaus for the first time in May. Presentations for the region’s public school students took place from May 9 to 20, at the Francisca Mendes Municipal School, with a special session for children of IP employees on May 15.
Upon arriving at Book City, six to ten year olds are welcomed by the Mayor and his secretary, Ms. Maricota, who insist on presenting the places they will visit. The students watch a puppet show; meet the Bookworm, who claims that she no longer eats books (but she relapses every once in a while); take part in a drawing and painting workshop at Paper Square; learn about diet, recycling and dental hygiene at the Castle of Delights; and listen to Grandma Cotinha tell stories.
“Book City” has been around since 1997 and over its nearly 20 years it has had over 900,000 visitors among the permanent project, located in São Paulo, and the travelling project, which has put on presentations at schools, companies and shopping centers since 2003.
For the last seven years, “Book City” has been part of the initiatives at International Paper Institute, bringing the project to different units each year. “The education of children and young people is one of the pillars at International Paper Institute, which is why we bring the project to various locations, so that starting early children have contact and identify with the habit of reading,” says Glaucia Faria, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Manager at IIP.
According to Claudio Amadio, the project’s creator, every year “Book City” develops a different theme. “For 2016, we chose author Monteiro Lobato and the theme of UNESCO, Understanding the World,” he says, adding that the biggest challenge in educating new readers is creating pleasurable experiences related to reading, but without making connecting these experiences with any kind of demands. “Another big challenge is finding new authors and works that awaken the interest of young people, in addition to avoiding pre-judging the classics,” he says in closing.