Christmas Book Giving

History of the Christmas Book Appeal 

In the 1960s six small children were orphaned in a road accident near Canberra. Provision was made for them to be cared for in a home just out of the city. Towards Christmas a small group of women, headed by Mrs Tom Corrigan, approached Mrs Lu Rees, Manager of Cheshire's Bookshop, with the idea of sending each of these children a book as a gift for Christmas. The following year the home had been expanded. Other children were involved and there were eleven being cared for there. Again, book gifts were sent, Cheshire's contributing to the cost. This continued for several years.

The Children's Book Council (as it was known at the time) came into the picture in 1964-5. Mrs Eve Byrne, of the Welfare Section of the Dept. of the Interior, made it plain that there were many more children in Canberra whose family circumstances were such that they would be unlikely to receive Christmas presents. She thought that the gift of a book with a personal greeting would mean something. For many years CBCA ACT members braved the winter cold at the open-air markets at Fyshwick. They sold items to make money for new Christmas books to give to a range of disadvantaged children.

In recent years the CBCA ACT, along with generous individuals, schools, libraries, publishers and bookstores have donated funds or new books. They have met in people's houses and individually selected for children's specific needs and interests.

Each year CBCA ACT gives out over 1000+ new books to refuges, child protection services, hospitals, hostels, and other community groups. Each book comes with a name plate so that each child can make the book their very own.


Books can make a difference

“My two-year-old daughter has completely fallen in love with a book called 10 Play Hide and Seek that was donated to Inanna at Christmas. She has almost memorised the whole story and reads it to me, instead of me to her.”

 Mary from Inanna Crisis Service

“Many [children] asked how much the books were and when they were told they were free to anyone who like stories, we saw their little faces light up and hands were busy flicking through the chosen book!” 

Patricia (Case Manager)

“Everyone I gave a book to really loved it.”                                             Rachel (Case Manager)

“I have found that books are a fabulous bonding tool for families and a wonderful distraction for when things aren't going well.”

Patricia (Case Manager)

“A little girl in one family I support has been taking her book everywhere she has been. She is normally quite boisterous, but when she is reading she has become very focused and settled.”                                                                                           Heidi (Case Manager)


If you are interested in receiving books for children in your care

The time has come for the ACT Branch to supply new children’s books once again for underprivileged children. Each year the Book Council collects and distributes over 1000 donated new books for children so that they have their very own book for Christmas.

Please find the following link for you to provide details about your service and request the required books for children in your care and associated with your organisation.