The Rotary Club of Doncaster have launched a crowdfunder to buy a copy of The Lost Spells book for every primary school in the town. The fundraising campaign follows a project led by Doncaster Stories, which brought together hundreds of local children for a mass performance of Jackdaw – one of the poems in the book.
The Lost Spells written by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris and published by Penguin Random House is the sequel to the best-selling The Lost Words: a spell book - it was written to be read aloud and inspires action on behalf of the natural world. Local schools were given exclusive access to Jackdaw ahead of its publication so they could learn, read, and perform the poem for a montage video which is now being used for the crowdfunder.
The video premiered at a virtual event which was attended by 300 school children and special guests Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Children were given the opportunity to ask the creative duo questions about the book that has inspired much of their school work in recent weeks.
The crowdfunder comes at a crucial time as national school closures resulting from COVID-19 are expected to reverse all progress made to narrow the attainment gap in the last decade. However, reading has provided solace for children this year as 1 in 3 (34.5%) say they read more often during lockdown than before and 1 in 4 (27.6%) say they enjoy reading more. Doncaster Stories hopes that the crowdfunder can harness this love for reading as The Lost Spells has brought joy to so many young people.
The fundraiser is inspired by Jane Beaton's campaign in early 2018, to get a copy of The Lost Words into every primary school in Scotland. It hopes to raise £495 in the next 12 days and rewards are being offered to those who donate £5 or more, including a chance to win a copy of the The Lost Spells as well as artwork and signed prints from the book’s creators.
Phil Sheppard, Senior Project Officer for Doncaster Stories, said:
“The Lost Spells has been such a fantastic local project and it’s been great to see children getting so much out of it. Buying copies of the book for every school would mean children’s enthusiasm can live on, giving them an opportunity to explore all of the book’s spells. The book encourages readers to explore the natural world and look after all of its wonders including our own mental health.”