Bryndis Bjorgvinsdottir, a popular Icelandic author and folklorist, recently urged her fans and friends on Facebook to demand their government increase help of Syrian refugees. The initial offer of taking in only 50 refugees was so paltry in the eyes of over 10,000 Icelandic people (nearly 4% of the population) that they took to social media with Bryndis, to express their willingness to help. People on the Facebook page have commented how they would take in children and families, many of them being parents themselves and empathising with the protective instincts of desperate Syrian mothers and fathers. Thankfully the Icelandic authorities have listened and responded positively with Welfare Minister Eyglo Hardardottir pledging to increase the number of refugees taken in by Iceland. It is heart-warming to think that one person can make such a difference: Bryndis threw one pebble into the water and the ripples created could save thousands of lives.
I believe this show of humanity comes from being humble and empathetic: humble enough to know that being born in a certain country does not make one better than another, and empathetic enough to truly listen to the voices of those in need.
In the UK I hear so many scared people but these people aren’t scared for the safety of others, just themselves and their false sense of patriotism. We could easily take in more refugees and we should feel a duty to, not just because the West’s involvement has arguably done more harm than good, but mostly because they are humans and so are we. How can we call ourselves a ‘developed nation’ when we haven’t even developed empathy for displaced families and dying children?
Fellow humans within the For Reading Addicts Community: don’t ever think you could not make a difference. Never forget that if you are afraid to shout alone you can add your voice to the chorus of many others. Sign that petition, send that donation, travel to the nearest refugee ‘camp’ and donate. Do what you feel you can, because the last time I checked the world was round and the borders were artificial.
The Seriously Awkward campaign deals with complex issues facing teenagers like mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, and poverty. Even though 16 and 17 year olds are still considered children, the support offered by the government is shocking. At 18, it stops altogether and the child is suddenly considered an adult. The Children’s Society UK are calling on the UK Government to give these teens as much support as they need as they transition into adulthood.
The literary competition has been designed to shine a light on issues facing 16-17 year olds. Using themes of the changes, difficulties, and complexities involved with teenagers, writers are encouraged to come up with a maximum of 2,000 words about being 16-17 years old.
The competition was created to help promote the work of British Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers who have been vastly underrepresented in the publishing world.
The winner will receive a chance to win £1,000, an exclusive one‑day publishing workshop and a taste of online publication.
The six finalists for this year’s competition have been announced- with stories about pixies and changeling children, Grenfell Tower, grief and music, and more.
The overall winner will be announced on the 12th of September.
Alongside the contests Lego have thought up themselves, Lego enthusiasts can enter a creation they have made at home. One such person, Lego user Hwachtman, painstakingly designed a house from Coraline (a dark fantasy children’s novella by Neil Gaiman), with an amazing attention to details. It started as a sketch taken from the movie adaptation of the book, and ended up a 3,000 Lego brick construction complete with lights. Any Lego fan can register on the site and vote for their favourite set, in hopes that it will be available to purchase one day.
Check out the images below, and the Lego Ideas website for more details, and to vote!
500 Words 2018 has set another record for entries: this year saw over 135,000 people enter with their stories. The stories were read by a team of 5000 volunteers- librarians and teachers from around the UK- before being pared down to the Top 50 by The Reading Agency. The panel of judges, Charlie Higson, Francesca Simon, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Malorie Blackman and Honorary Judge, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, had the gruelling task then of selecting three winners from two age categories (5-9 years and 10-13 years).
The final was presented by BBC’s Chris Evans, and was an exciting and glamorous day of live music and story-telling. The six winners were announced on BBC Radio 2 by British and Irish funnymen, David Walliams and Dara O’Briain. There was also music from John Newman, Alexandra Burke and Bastille to round off the celebrations.