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Published 11th April 2012, 9:35am

Encouraging parents and children to read together is the aim of an upcoming nationwide initiative.

"Cayman Reads" programme, a first of its kind in the Cayman Islands, launches today, Tuesday, April 10 2012. This programme will provide monthly book recommendations for children and teenagers through the end of the year, courtesy of the Cayman Islands Public Library Service and Ministry of Education.

The selection of books was chosen from two very prestigious American book awards: The Caldecott Award and the Newbury Award.  The Caldecott medal is awarded annually to the most distinguished picture book for children.  The Newbury medal is a literary award given annually by the Association for Library Service to Children.  This award has been given since 1922 making it the very first children’s literary award in the world.

Each of the monthly book selections is outlined in a booklet which will be available in all libraries and on the library’s website:  The booklet also provides suggestions of other books by the winning illustrators and authors for parents and their children to explore.

Explaining the motivation behind the programme, Director of Public Libraries Mrs. KC Williams said "I hope the Cayman Reads programme inspires a love of shared reading between parents and children." She continued "It is my wish that every child in Cayman reads and shares stories with someone they love."

The books selected for each month will be available in all public libraries and government schools will also have copies available in their own school libraries.  Programme supporters The Book Nook and Books & Books will also have the books available for purchase should persons want to add these books to their personal collections.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, gave his full endorsement of the programme and stated, "Through this exciting new programme, the Cayman Islands Public Library Service and Ministry of Education are encouraging and helping parents and caregivers to develop a love of reading in the young children and teenagers under their care.  If we build a love of reading in children from the time they are very young, it will continue far beyond this stage. A love of books is no less important once children become adolescents."

Chief Officer Mrs. Mary Rodrigues in the Ministry echoed these words saying, "As a former English teacher, I have a great love for good literature, and I am aware of the power of a well-written story to kindle curiosity, awaken wonder and engage our emotions. Through the launch of the "Cayman Reads" programme, we will be empowering all parents and caregivers of young children and teenagers to experience this joy of reading" she remarked.