Over 2,000 people across Donegal are setting off on a poetic journey this spring with the launch of Read DL 2020. The “One Book, One Community” reading initiative has teamed up with the office of the Laureate na nÓg to deliver a twist to their annual reading adventure with an aim to spark an interest in poetry. The current Laureate na nÓg, Sarah Crossan is a renowned poet and fiction author for children and young adults with Donegal roots. Under the partnership, 5 workshops will be delivered in primary schools across Donegal where local author Denise Blake will work with children to create their own poems. A select number of these poems will be read aloud to the audience at the Read DL closing ceremony at the Balor at the end of March.
This year, Read DL is celebrating 10 years of partnership between the stakeholders involved. It operates under a multiagency committee led by coordinators from Errigal College, Letterkenny Educate Together NS, Donegal ETB, LYIT and Donegal County Council Library Service. The success of the Project can be attributed to the strength of the cooperation between these organisations. Good working relationships have been established with the common aim of building a sense of community while promoting the value of reading and literacy.
Leas Cathoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Niamh Kennedy paid tribute to the successful partnership approach of all the stakeholders involved in the initiative. “By bringing together local agencies to support literacy and reading development we are able to deliver a coordinated, sustainable and standardised approach to providing services in the community.”
She continued by praising the great work of the Read DL committee by highlighting it as “a great example of how a community focus and partnership approach to lifelong learning and social inclusion can be applied to have a positive impact on so many lives.”
This year’s chosen book is ‘Hopscotch in the Sky’ by Lucinda Jacob which is a beautifully written accessible collection of poems. Lucinda is a poet, illustrator and author of fiction for young people. She has written and illustrated a number of picture books and storybooks for new readers, scripts for the national broadcaster RTÉ and poetry for older children and has been published in numerous collections. This beautiful book also includes a rainbow of enchanting illustration by award-winning artist Lauren O’Neill, winner of the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Illustration in 2016.
Speaking on behalf of the Read DL committee at the launch, Karen Sheehy Staff Officer with Donegal County Library Service encourages participants to seek out poems that resonate with them. “This year’s book was selected not just for its wonderful poems and beautiful illustrations, but also because it is a wonderful introduction or re-introduction to poetry in a way that is simple and accessible for everyone. Let it be a stepping stone for further exploration.” She continued by emphasising the community aspect of the initiative by inviting everyone to delve into poetry this spring. “There is a huge range of poetry available in libraries either in your local branch or online. Your library card enables you to borrow up to 12 books at a time, so you can borrow a few to help find something that resonates with you. There is also an opportunity for budding poets to enter the Read DL writing competition and attend a series of community based events county-wide so there’s plenty to get involved in.
Registration for group participation in this year’s programme is now closed, but individual copies of the book are available at your local library. Visit www.donegallibrary.ie to reserve your copy. You can also visit www.readdonegal.com for further information and learning activities to accompany ‘Hopscotch in the Sky’ and previous READ DL titles. Stay up to date by following Read DL on Facebook @readdlsocial and Twitter @ReadDonegal.