Bookbag is back!

Great news - Bookbag, our children’s book gifting initiative, delivered in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland, is BACK! 

Aimed at DEIS schools, where free books can be most needed, the Bookbag project gifts every child in chosen schools with a book to take home and keep.

In our first year we had the privilege of working with the rather fitting Rutland National School. The original audio recordings for ‘Give Up Yer Aul Sins!’ having been recorded in Rutland Street School in the 60s was the obvious choice for the inaugural Bookbag school.

In the second year we worked with Our Lady of Victories Infant National School in Ballymun, a co-education school with students in Junior, Senior and First Class cycles. With OLV we focused on creating a Positivity Library of picture books for the students which would cater to a wide range of issues facing these young children from looking at contemporary family life, understanding emotions and behaviours to studying the world around us and our place in it. Children attending OLV are from a wide range of nationalities and diverse backgrounds and the books chosen for this library where chosen to represent this. The chosen books allow each child to feel represented and be able to see themselves reflected in the characters within their pages.

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For our 2016 Bookbag we elected to open up the application process to primary schools throughout Ireland. We received a lot of interest in the scheme with 25 applications in total, 21 of these schools being registered as DEIS and a predominance of applications coming from schools based in Dublin.

Our chosen school for the third year of Bookbag is St. Eithne’s GNS (a Senior Girls National School) based in Edenmore in Dublin 5. The school has roughly 220 students in total, with girls ranging in ages from seven to twelve. This age range faces us with new challenges, in both adapting our Monster Doodle session, led by Niamh Sharkey, for an older audience and in selecting a brand new and varied range of titles for more confident readers.

We are currently compiling our booklist to meet the requirements of the school, from adding brand new novels and non-fiction titles to the general school library as requested by the teachers, to creating a curated list of titles entitled ‘Go Girl’ which will aim to inspire, educate and encourage the girls to reach their full potential.

In addition, each student will receive their own book to keep. These books were chosen from Children’s Books Ireland’s annual Inis Reading Guides and were voted on by the students themselves at St. Eithne’s. Author visits will be scheduled to coinicide with the Bookbag handover event scheduled for May.

Stay posted for more updates coming soon!


Bookbag was initiated by picture book-maker Niamh Sharkey during her term as Laureate na nÓg (2012–2014). Niamh campaigned throughout her tenure for a universal book-gifting scheme, which would ensure that every baby born in Ireland receives the gift of a book in their first year of life. For more info on Bookbag, please visit: bookbag

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Digital Marketing Manager and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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