Literary Treasure Hunt Has Kids Finding Hidden Books, Reading, Then Re-Hiding Them for Others

As wholesome and nourishing an activity as reading is, it has a hard time competing against screens for a child’s attention. However, some communities are bringing new life to reading by encouraging kids to embark on an interactive, never-ending literary treasure hunt. In Braidwood, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, kid-friendly titles like “Goosebumps” and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" are sealed in plastic bags and hidden around town, ready to be found in unsuspected places like shop windows, trees and nearby parks. Inside the bag, in addition to the book, is a piece of paper that reads: “You are the lucky finder of this book. Read it, enjoy it, and then hide it again for someone else to enjoy. Please reuse this bag. Add your name inside the cover and let’s see how many can find it!” The whimsical idea was brought to Braidwood by a mom named Samantha Dixon, who had seen other communities with thriving hidden book projects online and noticed how positively kids responded to a previous trend of finding colorfully painted rocks scattered throughout the neighborhood. She saw a book hunt as a fun and creative way to keep kids from relying too much on technology. Indeed, the kids seem to love it, whether they’re simply visiting town and happen upon a book, or live there and have found several. It might be hard to break away from the convenience and instant gratification of technology, but hidden book hunts remind kids what’s so fun about reading in the first place.