Hidden treasure for story explorers across North Yorkshire Coast

17 Feb 2021
hidden books NYC

Last week, a team of volunteers joined forces to hide 400 children’s books in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey. The books started to appear in bus stops, on benches and even in last weekend and they've proven to be a hit with locals.

Children have already started to find the books and we've been sent lots of photos and a Facebook post announcing the initiative was seen by 26,000 residents over night, with over 300 of them sharing the post to help spread the word.

Over the next few weeks 200 books will be hidden around Scarborough while residents in Whitby and Filey will each be in with a chance of finding any one of 100 hidden titles. The books are all inside plastic wallets to prevent them from being damaged and finders are instructed to quarantine their newly found treasure for 72 hours once they take it home.

Our Stories is a campaign to inspire parents and carers to read with their children every day in order to increase local literacy levels. Our research shows that reading has provided solace for many children during lockdown – 1 in 3 young people are reading more compared to before and 3 in 5 agreed that reading helped them feel better.

However, as many as 44,000 children in Yorkshire do not own a single book of their own at home (almost 1,000 of those are children in Scarborough) meaning that they’re missing out on the many benefits of reading. The hidden books project hopes to change this by sparking a love of reading for the first time.

That’s why there’s no obligation for children to re-hide the books they find as part of this project – instead children can share with a friend or sibling and reread it again later. Families who find the books have been invited to post about it on social media, tagging #OurStories, and there will be clues on where to find the hidden books on the Our Stories Facebook page.

Volunteers who would like to get involved in this project (and future ones) can contact Diana Logan on diana.logan@literacytrust.org.uk.


“The hidden books project is a simple way to put some smiles on children’s faces during the winter months. We’ve already started to receive messages from families who have found them and it’s lovely to hear about the impact they’re having – it’s a simple way to spread some joy while also improving the skills of local young people.”

Diana Logan, Acting Hub Manager for Our Stories