Growing up I loved my Sesame Street books. I have fond memories of sitting nestled on my Nanna’s lap being regaled with tales of Big Bird and Grover.

Now a whole new generation will experience that love thanks to BIG W’s Free Books for Kids program. The program is returning nationwide on Thursday 18 February, this time partnering with Sesame Workshop – the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street.

Excitingly, some special friends of Sesame Street with a shared passion for reading and literacy are lending their support to BIG W’s program to help the stories reach even more families across Australia. Olivia Newton-John, Rose Byrne, Rove McManus, Mitch Tambo, Gorgi Coghlan, Allison Langdon and Gyton Grantley are some of the well known personalities who will be hosting storytime readings on BIG W’s YouTube channel and the BIG W Free Books for Kids Podcast.

Aussie celebrities including Rove McManus are throwing their voices behind BIG W’s Free Books for Kids program.

Aussie families will enjoy the heart-warming stories, featuring everybody’s favourite Sesame Street characters, including Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster, that share inspiring messages for kids around individuality, dreaming big and understanding differences.

Teresa Rendo, BIG W’s Acting Managing Director says: “Reading is one of the most important and engaging tools to help with a child’s development, and BIG W is proud to partner with leaders in learning and literacy to deliver a collection of books that will not only teach kids valuable lessons about the world around them, but also foster a love of reading. The extension into video recordings and Podcasts also means families from all over Australia can enjoy these stories together.”

In addition to the 2.6 million Sesame Street books given away in stores and via streaming options, BIG W is further committed to making books for early learning accessible to even more Australians by donating another 40,000 to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) and Good360 Australia for families living in remote and rural areas, and communities in need.

Kim Kelly, ALNF Co-Founder and Executive Director says that children from disadvantaged backgrounds may experience barriers to literacy, which can have serious, life-long consequences: “Reading to your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, and we are excited to be part of a project that helps our children to develop into confident, autonomous and happy life-long learners. Together with BIG W, we are working to share these fantastic books with the communities that need them the most.”

How to get FREE Sesame Street books …

Aussie families can collect each of the eight books from all BIG W stores weekly starting Thursday, 18 February with no purchase necessary (available nationally while stocks last).