Hundreds of children across the region will be receiving a special gift this Christmas through Moree Plains Shire Council's Christmas book initiative.
Council are providing 700 children between the ages of three to five with a book to lift community spirit while also encouraging education and the importance of reading and literacy skills.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall visited Kiah Preschool on Tuesday alongside Moree mayor Katrina Humphries and Moree Plains Shire councillors, with the state government providing a $5,000 grant to support the initiative.
"This is a brand new initiative by council to not only make sure every child has a wonderful Christmas and some good presents under the tree but hopefully to, over the Christmas break, inspire passion for reading and learning as well," Mr Marshall said.
"I think it's a great initiative by council so I was very happy to approach the education minister and secure $5,000 to support this. I just think it's brilliant."
All of the books will be purchased locally through Wise Words Bookshop Moree, and then distributed throughout the Moree Plains Shire.
"We got a really good deal from one of our locals and I think Wise Words should be commended for being so competitive and for eally having a go with this," Mrs Humphries said.
The small gesture of gifting a book for Christmas is made even more important given the current drought which is still having a severe impact.
"That's obviously what inspired this concept, the fact that there are a lot of families for whom this Christmas isn't going to be as wonderful a celebration as it has been in previous years just because things are so hard at the moment," Mr Marshall said.
"So this will bring a little bit of extra joy to children across the Moree Plains Shire."
"Sometimes little things do a lot of good," Mrs Humphries added.
"Everyone is doing it tough, so for all the little preschoolers right across the shire, all the three and four-year-olds are getting a book.
"You can't put a price on a smile and a laugh and we've all forgotten how to do that. We've all been fairly sourly and surly for quite a while.
"It's a very difficult time but Christmas is coming up and we've got to put our best foot forward."
While the gifts are sure to bring a little Christmas cheer to all the children in the Moree Plains Shire, the books will also encourage learning and improved reading skills.
"The gift of a book is such an important one," Mr Marshall said.
"It's not just the gift itself and the joy of unwrapping a present but it's hopefully the impact that has on the youngster to stir or ignite some form of passion for reading and learning.
"Books are very powerful."