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Phonics Stars teacher Jo Patel and children's author Josie Dom launch Look for a Book Bishop's Stortford

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Once upon a time, there was a chance for Bishop's Stortford children to find free books and share the magic of reading.

Jo Patel, who runs her Phonics Stars sessions in the town, has teamed up with children's author Josie Dom as part of the Look for a Book initiative.

Together they are celebrating National Reading Day on Thursday (January 23) by hiding 30 copies of Josie's book Lum in outdoor public spaces for little ones to discover.

Jo Patel leading one of her Phonics Stars sessions. Picture: Vikki Lince
Jo Patel leading one of her Phonics Stars sessions. Picture: Vikki Lince

After taking the book home to read in comfort, children are encouraged to hide it in another location for another youngster to enjoy.

As well as helping to form good reading habits, the Look for a Book concept gives children the chance to explore when looking for the books, creates excitement when they uncover one and teaches them about sharing when they pass them on.

"You can often find myself and my two girls curled up on the sofa with a good book," said Jo, a former primary school teacher who set up her own business in 2018. "I wanted to share that with others.

Josie Dom (26953451)
Josie Dom (26953451)

"Alongside teaching Phonics Stars, which introduces children to letters and sounds in a gentle way, I thought it would be fun to share books in the wider community."

Halstead-based writer Josie, who is also a mother of two, published Lum in 2016. The follow-up, Lum's Mum, hit the shelves two years later.

"Being able to share my stories with children is a wonderful feeling, and as a thank you to all the readers, I've included a discount voucher with the books which we are sharing on January 23 to celebrate National Reading Day."

The informal group has a Facebook page where finders can share their discoveries and hides with each other, give and read book reviews and recommendations, and catch up on book news from around the country and the world.

To get involved with sharing any books yourself, please contact Jo or Josie via the Look for a Book Bishop's Stortford Facebook page so that you can be given a leaflet to explain the concept and a plastic wallet to keep the books safe and dry.

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