ON THE SAME PAGE: Josie Street from Fraser Coast Artslink (left) and Fraser Coast Baby and Children’s Handmade Market founder Stacey Christensen (right), are supporting Belinda Geldard and her Bandy Books Preloved Children’s Book Fairs, which helps raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. There will be a drop off point for book donations at this Sunday’s market.
ON THE SAME PAGE: Josie Street from Fraser Coast Artslink (left) and Fraser Coast Baby and Children’s Handmade Market founder Stacey Christensen (right), are supporting Belinda Geldard and her Bandy Books Preloved Children’s Book Fairs, which helps raise funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. There will be a drop off point for book donations at this Sunday’s market. Valerie Horton

Belinda's books help young children read

BELINDA Geldard said she was privileged as a child to have a mother who was passionate about reading, with offerings of countless bedtime stories from the bookshelf that was always stacked to its limit.

Now 42, the Hervey Bay resident has carried on that tradition beyond just reading with her two young boys; she has founded Bandy Books - a pre-loved children's bookfair that encourages children to foster a love of books from an early age and at an affordable price for parents.

Books have been donated to Mrs Geldard by family and friends, bought at garage sales and markets, then sold at playgroups, community events and markets for $1 to $2, with 50 cents from the sale of every book being donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

"I was really lucky growing up because my mum always read heaps of stories to us and I was always surrounded by books as a child," Mrs Geldard said.

"At the time I didn't realise how lucky I was as not all children have access to such things.

"I made the active decision that when I had children books were going to be very important in their life as well."

Mrs Geldard has a Certificate 4 in Library and Information Services and worked in her children's school library, which is where she first heard about ILF.

She said the charity aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in remote indigenous communities in Australia, by lifting literacy levels and instilling a love of reading through book supply, Book Buzz Early literacy programs and community literacy projects.

"There is a big gap in literacy in comparison to indigenous and non-indigenous children and it just seemed liked it was a very worthy cause," she said.

"For me it was about something that had to do with reading and fostering a love of reading at a young age.

"Reading sets children up later in life."

Hervey Bay's Stacey Christensen is the founder of the monthly Fraser Coast Baby and Children's Handmade Market and - after hearing about the Bandy Books initiative felt compelled to help out.

The next market is this Sunday, June 11, where Bandy Books will have a drop-off point for book donations and sales.

The market is held under the Umbrella of Fraser Coast Artslink and will be held at their Arts and Crafts Hall on Bideford St, Torquay, from 8am to 1pm.

There will be a variety of stalls with locally made products and services for pregnancy, babies, children, right through to mums and dads, plus food stalls, face painting and entertainment.

Entry is free.

  • To find out more about the Bandy Books, phone Belinda on 0419 732 763.
  • Market inquiries can be directed to Stacey Christensen on 4124 2450.


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