HELL to sponsor new-look Book Awards

HELL has reinforced its commitment to getting more kids hooked on books, by sponsoring the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

The newly coined awards unite the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust (NZBAT), to create a unique celebration of the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage.

The HELL Reading Challenge, initiated last year, will continue in partnership with LIANZA and the NZBAT, with a joint pledge to make the campaign bigger and stronger than ever before.

HELL general manager Ben Cumming said: “HELL has always challenged the norm, and with kids now becoming so engrossed with modern technology, we are bucking that trend and making reading cool again. We want pizza to be the gateway drug to reading addiction!”

Country bookworms rewarded

Keen rural readers in some of the more remote parts of the country were recently rewarded for successfully completing the LIANZA and HELL Reading Challenge, when HELL sent its caravans to cook them fresh pizza.

The programme, now in its second year, rewards students with a free “333 HELLthy pizza” once they have read seven books and had their achievement approved by a local librarian with a stamp in each segment of their HELL pizza wheel. Wanting to reward some of the bookworms who completed a wheel, but live too far from a HELL store to redeem their free pizza, HELL sent fully equipped caravans to tour Northland, Hawke’s Bay and South Canterbury.

At last count, 319 schools and every public library in New Zealand is taking part — more than six times as many as last year. This year, 150,000 pizza wheels have been distributed, amounting to more than one million books read by Kiwi kids.

LIANZA communications manager Ines Almeida said: “The caravan tour helps generate an extra buzz by delivering pizza to kids who wouldn’t normally get the chance to celebrate the completion of the challenge. Hopefully this extra effort will inspire these children to keep on reading in the future! This year has been a massive success. By June, we had run out of the first batch of 100,000 wheels — so HELL generously printed off another 50,000. I’m still getting requests from schools to join the challenge.”

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said HELL Whangarei franchisee Courtney Wellington, who toured the caravan around Northland. “Hundreds of kids came out at each town we visited. They were stoked to see us! A lot of people told us how much they appreciate the effort that HELL has put in for the community.”