AN INITIATIVE inviting children to get outdoors to look for new books to read has taken the North-East by storm.

Instigated in the region by Christine Elrick, the head of literacy at Westoe Crown Primary School, in South Shields, the Look for a Book project has enticed tens of thousands of parents and their children to go searching for new reading material throughout the school holidays.

The project encourages families to hide their own old books in locations across their local area and then post clues or photos on Facebook to help other children find the hidden treasures.

After the children have finished reading the books, they are then encouraged to hide the book in a different spot to keep the game going.

Christine said: “Working as a teacher, there’s always a small group of reluctant readers, but I always tell them they haven’t found the right book.

“This scheme gets children reading all sorts of genres and discovering books they may not have come across, and reading in the school holidays which is just great.”

Inspired by a similar group started in London, Christine brought the initiative to her native North-East when she realised her own children had various books gathering dust as they never read them any more.

Within a week of starting the Facebook group, there were more than 30,000 followers wanting to join in with the fun.

Since then, subsidiary groups covering specific areas have developed, such as Look for a Book Northumberland and Look for a Book County Durham.

Christine said: “I started it for a group of friends living in my village of East Boldon, but then some who didn’t live there asked to spread it wider across the North-East. I never planned to do that but, before long, the group had 30,000 followers.

“I remember saying on the first day that I couldn’t believe 100 people were interested, never mind tens of thousands.

“From a small idea, it has snowballed into something big.”