Preston mum-of-two brings joy of reading to thousands of children after sparking city-wide 'look for a book' craze

A Preston mum-of-two has launched a city-wide game of 'hide and seek' with her new 'look for a book' adventure for children.

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 4:58 pm
Happy four-year-old Harriet Ormerod proudly shows off a book she found in Haslam Park

Julie Brogden, 39, from New Longton, began hiding children's books in parks and public spaces across the city in late July.

In just two weeks, more than 2,000 parents had joined Julie's Facebook group - 'Preston Look for a Book' - and hundreds more are joining in the fun every day.

Her idea has helped fuel the imagination of children in Preston, with families embarking on Easter egg-style hunts for books in parks, playgrounds, supermarkets and other imaginative hiding places.

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Julie Brogden's daughter Freya, 8, with books ready to be hidden in a top secret location somewhere in Preston

She said the aim of the group is to hide books around the city for children to find before posting clues of the secret hiding places on the group's Facebook page.

If you are lucky enough to find one of the books, you are encouraged to post a picture of your discovery on Facebook with a thank you message for the previous owner.

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The city-wide book hunt appears to have led to a new-found hunger for books among children.

Julie Brogden's daughters, Freya, 8 (left) and Layla, 5, helping mum hide books for other lucky children to find

"It's amazing how many families are joining in, I didn't think it would take off like it has", said Julie.

"It’s been such a big hit getting people out and about in the community, hiding and finding books in parks and even some of the unlikeliest locations.

"So far, we have had families finding books on buses, in supermarket trolleys, in trees, bus shelters. They are all over the place!"

Julie said she was inspired to start a children's book hunt in Preston after seeing a similar craze take off in West Cumbria where she grew up.

Another happy little explorer reads a book found near the highchairs in Booths cafe, Fulwood. Ann Valentine said her and her grandson had been searching for books in a local park, but hadn't found any. Then they popped into Booths for a bite to eat and found one in the cafe!

"I came across it when I was visiting my family back in Cumbria, and I thought, 'what a good idea!'

"My eldest daughter has been glued to her iPad since breaking up for the summer holidays, so I wanted to try something different to get her out of the house and into the fresh air.

"I think the 'look for a book' idea is great because it combines playing outside with reading, and makes getting their hands on books all that more exciting and fun for them.

"And the best thing is, it's free! It's a great way to keep kids entertained on a budget this summer whilst also inspiring a love for reading."

Julie and her two children Freya, 8, and Layla, 5, began by hiding a few books in see-through plastic bags to protect them from the rain.

Inside the book's cover, Julie left a message for those who discovered it, explaining where it came from.

The note reads: "Hello, you are the lucky finder of this book. I hope you enjoy it!

"You can take it away to read and keep it as long as you please.

"When you are finished with it, please re-hide it, or you can keep it and hide a new book for someone else to find and enjoy.

"Thank you and post pictures of your discoveries on #Prestonlookforabook!"

You can join in the fun and spread the joy of reading by visiting Preston look for a book on Facebook.