A BARRHEAD mum is inspiring hundreds of children to get excited about reading after setting up a treasure hunt with a twist. 

Sylwia Matwijczak started the Barrhead Look for a Book project in a bid to turn her own children’s attention away from screens and towards a more productive pastime. 

The idea involves placing a pre-loved book into a clear pouch, which is recyclable if possible, and hiding it somewhere around the town, with a little note for the next child who finds it, asking them to keep the book, read it, share it or hide it again.

When a book is discovered, the finder is also asked to pose for a photo which can then be posted by parents on the game’s dedicated Facebook page.

Children can also leave a review.

It is, however, not a competition or a race, there is no time limit, so readers are encouraged to enjoy the books at their own pace and leisure.

If a book is hidden again, parents are asked to share clues on the page to help those on the lookout for one to find.

Sylwia, who is mum to 10-year-old Kajtek, seven-year-old Tola and one-year-old Gucio, told the Barrhead News: “I started this because my own children were spending time on their screens.

“It’s been amazing because, now, they don’t want to just be on their screens. They have started to be excited by books.

“If you have a book for an adult, you can hide that too but we ask that you also put something sweet or a sticker or something nice in the bag for the little helpers.

“This means that parents can read too. It is for every reader.”

Sylwia first dreamed up the Look for a Book project in the summer of 2019 and the idea quickly built up momentum.

One book even ended up in the town of Benger, in Western Australia, and being re-hidden there by a young girl named Bonnie after her family found it during a visit to Barrhead.

When the Covid-19 pandemic put the project on hold, Sylwia started a neighbourhood window walk instead, which involved children creating pictures based on different themes and placing them in their windows at home.

With restrictions now lifted, the mum-of-three is delighted that Look for a Book has been able to resume.

“The first session [before the pandemic] was so exciting for the children,” said Sylwia. “Now we have started a second session after lockdown because people have stopped being worried about Covid and restrictions.

“Our Facebook group now has almost 590 parents as members, so that’s a big group for Barrhead.

“It is my dream that every child from Barrhead takes part. I would like more children and parents to know about it.”

To find out more, go online at facebook.com/groups/2317282231858598 and request to join.