The Little Book Adventure: Project # 2- Spread Your Love For Books

The Little Book Adventure is being run as part of National Year of Reading 2012. Project # 2 is being sponsored by Cocoon Couture.

There were a few reasons that I wanted this project to appear in The Little Book Adventure:

1. This project was initially inspired by a book I came across last year while compiling a book list on books about books.

Surprise, inspired by a true story, is a feel-good book written by Karen Andrews and illustrated by Kim Fleming. It follows the experiences of four young children as they each  borrow the same book from the library, one after the other. The first boy opens the book to find that someone has left a picture in it for him. He returns the gesture by leaving his own picture for the next reader and the chain continues. Each child reacts a little differently when they discover a picture in the library book, but they all have such positive reactions. I loved the random act of kindness represented in this book. If it sounds interesting, you can buy a copy here.

2. I’m sure that you will remember the cards that used to be stamped when we borrowed a book from the library. It helped to keep track of due dates and borrowers, but it was also symbolic of the book having a history and having been enjoyed by others before us. When I created these invitations for our Storybook Christmas Party, it brought back fond memories for the adults but the borrowing cards were foreign to the children.

Today, bar codes are scanned  instead and, as borrowers,  there is no longer evidence that a book has been borrowed before us (unless, of course, it has been ripped or drawn on). I thought that leaving a letter inside a book would be a great way for children to connect with other readers of the book.

3. I think we need to encourage children to talk about books and share their love of books with one another. This project gives them the opportunity to do that.

THE PROJECT: Spread your love for books (What’s involved?)

As part of this project we are asking you to:

  • Borrow some books from your local or school library (and choose your favourite book from the selection)
  • Download and print a copy of our letter head (or use your own stationery)
  • Use the letterhead to write a letter to the next borrower of the book
  • Slip the letter inside the pages of the book before you return it to the library

  • The more children involved with this particular project, the more successful it will be (i.e. the more letters that are slipped inside books, the more chance your child will stumble across one). It will work especially well for schools and libraries. SO MAKE SURE YOU SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT PROJECT #2 AND GET ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS INVOLVED.
  • Librarians and teachers could print multiple copies of the letterhead and leave them by the borrowing desk to encourage borrowers to leave a letter inside their books for the next borrower.


  • You and your children have creative licence over what you include in your letter. Here are some ideas:

-Describe what you enjoyed about the book

-Describe your favourite part of the book or your favourite illustration

-Describe how you are similar to the book character

-Recommend another book that is similar to this one

  • Older school-aged children who are capable of writing will be able to write the letter themselves.
  • Younger school-aged children and pre-schoolers may be able to think of their own ideas but will need your help to write the letter
  • Preschoolers, toddlers and babies can draw a picture instead of writing a letter.
  • You don’t need to disclose your full personal details, but it would be nice to make the letter personal by writing your first name (or nickname) and age at the bottom of the letter


This challenge will officially end on April 30, 2012 and 10 participants will be selected to receive a Cocoon Couture Shoulder Bag . However, there is no reason that you should stop leaving messages inside the books you borrow.

Once you have left a letter inside a book, please leave a comment below and tell us which book you borrowed from the library. You are also welcome to share more information about how your children responded to this project.

Feel free to leave as many comments below as you like.

…and if you’re a new visitor to My Little Bookcase and you haven’t registered to be a part of The Little Book Adventure, you can do that here.


You might have your own blog and wish to write about how you and your family approached this challenge. Feel free to write about it in a post, publish it on your blog and link up here.


What is a library visit without a special library bag for carrying and protecting your borrowed books?

Cocoon Couture has provided My Little Bookcase with 10 shoulder bags to giveaway to participants of this project. These shoulder bags would be ideal for use as a library bag for your next library visit.

Cocoon Couture’s shoulder bags are the coolest bags in town, and they are just perfect for holding library books.

The shoulder bags are valued at $39.95. They are handcrafted from 11 oz. denim and feature fun applique critters and a 100% cotton novelty print lining.

Shoulder Bag Dimensions: 37cm x 34 cm/ Strap dimension:  70cm

You can see Cocoon Couture’s full bag range here.

Terms and conditions:

1. Readers may enter as many times as they like (by leaving a comment below this post)

2. This project is open for all readers to enter. However, My Little Bookcase cannot cover the cost of international delivery.  International readers are welcome to enter, however they are asked to cover the delivery costs incurred if selected to receive a shoulder bag. Australian residents do not need to pay for delivery.

3. All entries must be received by midnight (AEST) on April 30, 2012 to be eligible

4. 10 individual participants will be randomly chosen to receive a Cocoon Couture Shoulder Bag.

5. The winner will be notified via email and will also be announced on, facebook and Twitter

6. The winner is asked to send a reply email with their delivery address and their preference for a Monkey or Robin shoulder bag (subject to availability).

The Little Book Adventure: Project # 2- Spread Your Love For Books


  1. Again I love this idea!!! I will also be absolutely ordering the book too! Fantastic!

    • Glad you’ll be joining in Megan. This is a little less time-intensive than the last project but very sweet. Enjoy.

  2. Love it! What a beautiful idea!!

    • I’m glad you like it Peta. I suspect leaving letters in books could become addictive for some of us. :)

  3. My son is two so we’ll be leaving pictures – what a great idea!

    • That’s fine Sarah- that’s exactly what the children in the picture book do. It will still be a lovely surprise for the child who finds it.
      My daughter is 2.5. We had a talk about the book. I asked her what she liked about it, and I wrote her ideas down for her. She finished the letter with a picture of her own. I’ll share that letter as an example later in the week.

  4. Another fabulous idea Jackie! I am looking forward to this challenge and sharing the experience with my kids. I mentioned the Little Book Adventure in my Son’s Preschool Newsletter, so I am hoping that we might be able to have some fun with this challenge in the preschool’s library too!

    • Thanks Melissa. I envisioned having whole schools and libraries involved- it could just be fabulous. Please let us know how it goes at your pre-school.

    • Hi Mel,
      I am including a link to this website in letters to our Preschoolers. Hopefully they will take up the challenge.
      I will design a little proforma so that the children can tell us what they like about a book. This is a great way to scaffold learning.This also links to the EYLF, outcome 5 “Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts
      Thanks for these great ideas and your key involvement at our Preschool.
      Best wishes

      • I’m simply thrilled that you’re preschool is getting involved in our challenge. Please let us know how they go.

  5. I think our local library needs this book. I’ll tell them about this wonderful idea too. Will a library buy a book upon request or should I donate a copy?

    • One of my local libraries ordered a book for me on request. It did take a while to arrive though. It’s certainly worth asking…..but yes, all libraries should probably have a copy of this book. Thanks for sharing the project with your library.

  6. What a great idea and a great way to finish off the term at school! I will get stuck into it on Monday

  7. Jackie this such a lovely idea. Nice and easy for the kids to get involved
    with, and incredibly exciting for them too!

  8. This is going to be so much fun! Over the next month, I’m sure there are going to be LOTS of books with letters or pictures in them going back to our library. Lets hope that the letters stay in the books, rather than getting thrown out! I hope we find a book that someone else has enjoyed too. Any other borrowers from Coburg or Brunswick libraries??

    • That will be the hard part for kids I think- waiting to find a note themselves. My daughter now keeps looking for ‘notes’ in books. I hope she doesn’t get too disappointed. Best plan of attack is to talk to the librarians at your local libraries and get them on board with this project. Enjoy.

  9. We’ve just returned a couple of books to the library with our little notes inside. The Gruffalo’s Child and Maisy Goes to Preschool. I’ve posted a photo on your facebook page of the Ella’s drawings.

    • Yay, I saw that. Thanks again for taking part. I hope your kids stumble upon a letter too! :)

  10. We has just written a letter to put inside Dancing Feet, ready to return to the library tomorrow. Such a lovely idea!

  11. I just wanted to follow up about how this month’s challenge helped direct our library visit.. A little while ago on your Facebook page I joined in a discussion about library book selection, lamenting that my 3 year old needed lots of guidance as she just randomly pulled books off the shelf, rather than choosing ones that might actually be of interest. I took some advice from the community and we went to the library with a plan and had better results, however I still really guided her planning. This time, we discussed the things she liked about the books we were returning, and when writing our letter to put inside Dancing Feet (her favourite from last visit’s selection) she mentioned that the elephant was her favourite. I then suggested she might like to find another elephant book today. She agreed, then some time later, out of the blue, she said ‘I really like Snuffletrump the pig in my book Hic, can we please try and find a book with a pig in it’. I was so pleased, both that she was independently coming up with a search criteria, and also that she was considering the things she likes about books she has read in order to help with the decision about what to read next.
    Thanks for encouraging us to really think about our use of the library, and for providing us with a conversation starter to help develop her independent book selections.

  12. After reading Challenge #2 and getting that tingly feeling of excitement, I immediately reserved a copy of Surprise for my 4 and 6 year olds. We have just read it tonight, and the look of absolute delight and the anticipation each of my children showed throughout the book was fabulous. There were some drawings in the back of the book and an envelope with the address of a boy on it. The kids were as equally excited about getting the drawings out and thinking about what they could include themselves tomorrow. We also thought we would write a letter to the boy whose addressed envelope we found. I have sent the Challenge information to the kids’ kindergarten and prep teachers in the hope they might join in the fun! I think there will be just as much excitement looking for ‘letters’ each time we borrow a new book. I think we will have to go to the library even more often now!

  13. Again, Oscar and I had lots and lots of fun (as you can see here: Thanks so much for another great idea – I can’t wait for next month’s project!

    That Book You Like…

  14. Loved doing this one with my daughter, and I remember the cards well. We did a few pictures, and I wrote a few notes put a note on the back of all of them with the little bookcase web address. So hopefully parents will have a look and join and do the same with their children.
    We put a note in Lets go visiting, naughty parents, my dad is brilliant and round balls round balls. I also wrote a nice note and put it in one of the books I read, and also made a nice little note for one of my daughters books when she nexts goes to read it. Will upload photos on facebook when I get a chance.

  15. My daughter has loved this challenge! Suprise is a fantastic book and we have now have our own copy.

    We left pictures in the following books:

    1. Mummy and Me
    2. This is my Puppy
    3. Scat, Cat
    4. Keep Trying

  16. This is so brilliant! I really want to do this in my library. Can I do that?

  17. I have just done this activity with my year 3 class and they loved it!! They are all very excited to borrow out books on a Monday hoping they will get a letter left by somebody else! It’s fantastic and I think they will keep writing letters for a while yet, which is fantastic! I don’t need to guide them, they will do it all on their own!! They get super excited when they find the surprise notes I’ve left in the books in our classroom reading corner!

  18. Sam and I left a note in his favourite book “Where is the Green Sheep”. As he is only 1 I had to write on his behalf about how much he loves certain pages. We are also going to do the same task with our Parents Group, so that the children will have the notes from each other to read when they are older.

  19. We took our second lot of books back to the library this week. This time I wrote a short letter for the kids and they did a drawing. Our books were ‘Maisy, Charley and the Wobbly Tooth’ and Charlie and Lola’s ‘I Will Be Especially Very Careful’. Unfortunately we didn’t find any letters in the books we borrowed, but it has been lots of fun anyway.

  20. Hi there – just scraping in – but we made two bookmarks (rather than letters) – we chose our favourite quote in the book to paste on one side and we wrote a little letter on the other – I’ll post a pic to your page. The books we borrowed were:
    My Friend Whale – Simon James
    Stella to Earth – Simon Puttock and Philip Hopman

    As we are o/s working for the next few months we borrowed these from the newly opened Tupo college library in Nuku’alofa, TOGNA – in fact we were the first stamp in each book!

    Love the library, love your challenge – love to read.


    Jodie, Vanna and Taula

  21. Finally here is our entry for the April book challenge, better late than never!
    From our latest trip to the library we bought home “Handa’s Surprise” by Eileen Browne. It features children from the Luo tribe of south-west Kenya, its so colourful and the animals are quite cheeky! I won’t spoil it in case somebody wants to read it!
    My 21 month old and 4 1/2 year old both loved it!
    My eldest decided to leave a drawing of all the different fruits in the book and a little note. When we return it tomorrow I plan to leave a note about the challenge on the back of her drawing, and let the library know a little bit about the concept too.

  22. We had SOOOOO much fun completing Project 2. It is exciting to know there are all these letters out there waiting to be discovered.
    Our family left letters in the following books:
    *Maisy’s Pool
    *Mike’s Bulldozer and the Big Flood
    *Mega Rescuers (non-fiction)
    *The Terrible plop
    *A Squash and a Squeeze
    *In our street
    *Street Sweepers (non-fiction)

    Thanks again Jackie for another great Project!

  23. We have found THE book that we will be leaving our note in.

    The girls are so excited.

    Such a lovely book, that a jumped online straight away to see if I could buy it….sold out, but I am on the list for when more arrive.

    They did however have other books from the same author and in the same style, so I ordered those 3.

    The book if you are interested in having a sneak peek first is “Little Eggs, Baby Birds”

    I defy any lover of books to not fall in love with this one.

  24. I posted the pics of our next lot of letters going to the library tomorrow.. A lot of the books we own are from my primary teaching past so Isobel is used to well thumbed books but it was nice to explicitly discuss that someone else will be reading these books soon and will see her pictures.

  25. jackie said: On May 7, 2012

    Thank you for taking part in this challenge.
    I hope you and your children continue to leave notes in the books that you borrow from the library. We do have some ‘winners’ for Project 2. Thank you once again to Cocoon Couture for providing these gorgeous library bags. The 10 lucky participants are:
    Jennifer Snowball
    Liz Callaway
    Melissa Ross
    Carolyn Kendrick
    Felicity St. John
    Peta Kennedy
    Ladies, please send us an email at Provide us with your delivery information and please let us know whether you would like a MONKEY bag or an OWL bag. Please remember that your postage is covered if you live in Australia. If you are an international resident, you are asked to cover the cost of postage.

  26. I came on to write the books my students have been leaving notes in and found out we were one of the winners! Exciting stuff! Can I just say this activity has been amazing in my class! Whenever my students geta free moment they are reading books hoping to find a note! They also write notes whenever they can! They get extra excited when they hav found one I have written! A list of some of the books we wrote in are:
    Snow Bright and the Tooth Magician
    Imogen the Ice Fairy.
    The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley (My personal favourite)
    Mr Pusskins
    Dog called Bear
    Pants on Fire
    The search for the ten-winged dragon
    Shack that dad built
    I Spy
    Simpson and his donkey
    Magic School Bus
    A really good scare

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The Little Book Adventure: Project # 2- Spread Your Love For Books

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