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Books that inspired children from all over Serbia to dream

by , 23rd Apr 2019

Books open up a whole new world for children. A world that hides exciting adventures, undiscovered places and brave heroes. While reading in mom’s lap or somewhere in a corner of his room, a child is actually pacing courageously through his endless imagination. At that moment, he is curiously following Alice around Wonderland, trying to comfort the Ugly Duckling and fearlessly flying with Peter Pan and his friends. With a book in his hand, there are no hurdles for a child that he cannot jump over easily. So, join your little one and enjoy together the magical world of reading. 

Led by the power of knowledge that one book can give a child, each year Novak Djokovic Foundation celebrates the World Book Day. On that occasion, we try to raise the awareness on how reading has a great positive impact on child’s education and development. Often children look for their first books at their school or city libraries. Therefore, we have recognized that a key to motivating children to read, is to invest in the libraries and their book funds. By wishing to connect as many children as possible with the enchanting power of books, we have organised several donations campaigns and collected thousands of books for children’s libraries from all over Serbia.

“When we saw that school libraries were outdated, that students were not able to read their favorite titles, and that they lacked books, we immediately launched this campaign to enrich the library funds. Our wish was to enable the children to grow up with their favorite characters, such as Harry Potter, The Three Musketeers, The Wizard of Oz, and also to get education from the school atlases and other encyclopedic publications. We all need to encourage a love of reading in children, and help them develop and refine their knowledge”  – Jelena Djokovic, the global director and co-founder of the Foundation.

In 2014, we presented primary schools in Ljig, Gruza and Sirca with 300 books, which renewed the school libraries and increased the number of books in their collection. Our friends from publishing houses “Kreativni Centar” and “Evro-Giunti” took part, as well as the Serbian writer Una Kozic.

In partnership with publishing houses “Evro-Guinti”, “JRJ” and ” Kreativni centar”, in 2015, we have donated 550 books to primary school “Vladika Nikolaj Velimirović” in Valjevo. The school that counts more than 650 students, has suffered extensive damage in May floods in 2014, and many books, encyclopedias, school atlases and other literature were destroyed in the library premises. We have succeeded to change that for the better and filled the library shelves with fantastic books, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Alice in Wonderland”, “Five friends” and many other contemporary titles.

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully, as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust

With each donation, the power of a book enlarges. That’s why, in 2016, we organised a donation campaign “Books with love”. For each donated book, the Foundation donated one more. As a result of the campaign we have gathered 1.500 books for the children in the SOS Children’s village in Kraljevo. Many “small book donors” aged 5-10, along with their parents, grandparents and other people of good will donated their carefully selected books to a group of less fortunate children in Kraljevo. It was so great to see that there were so many kids who decided to do something good for other boys and girls and to donate the books they no longer use.  Now the children in Kraljevo are able to enjoy stories, novels and poems, to improve knowledge and their imagination.

©Vemicphoto

© Jelena Vemic

“Access to books and the encouragement of the habit of reading: these two things are the first and most necessary steps in education and librarians, teachers and parents all over the country know it. It is our children’s right and it is also our best hope and their best hope for the future.” – Michael Morpurgo

As a result of our traditional charity event “Walk a Mile for a Smile”, the funds raised from donations of the sponsors who supported the campaign and from the participants in this charity were invested in the enrichment of the library of the primary school “Milivoje Borovic” in Mackat, Serbian village. In 2016, we delivered this donation in the amount of RSD 587,892 to this school that counts more than 200 students.

Your support means a lot to us, because only together we could achieved such a large number of donated books. Thanks to you, children from all around Serbia got an opportunity to flow into the magical world of reading. If maybe you didn’t participate in one of these donation campaigns before, let this day inspire you! Make children from your neighborhood or nearby park happy by giving them your favorite childhood book. Or take some time off before going to bed, and read your little one his favorite bed time story. Believe us – each book that made a child smile, is remembered forever. We wish you a happy World Book Day!

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