THOUSANDS of schoolkids across Britain gathered their battered old books together this week to help children who have no stories to read at bedtime.
With money tight and schools and libraries shut, children are facing book poverty — and that’s why The Sun on Sunday has launched our Books For Kids campaign.Zane Powles, deputy head of Western Primary School in Grimsby, Lincs, and nursery pupils (L-R) Eli Gibson, Oliwia Materna, Shia Crancher and Elijah Court with their books for The Sun’s Books for KidsCredit: © Richard Walker / ImageNorth
Running this month in conjunction with BookTrust — the UK’s largest children’s reading charity — we want you, our kindhearted readers, to send us your old children’s books too, no matter how ripped or tatty, so we can recycle them and send new ones to youngsters who need them the most.
Zane Powles, deputy head of Western Primary School in Grimsby, parcelled up books with his nursery children this week and said: “We have books here that have been loved but are worn out. Pages are torn and missing because they have been dropped in the street, taken to bed or read at the dinner table.
“To recycle them so another child that really needs a book can have a bedtime story for the first time is amazing. The joy of reading a book and the improved literacy skills that go with it are fantastic. It’s tragic, but reading and book poverty is very real in Britain, even in 2021.
“The Sun On Sunday’s campaign is raising awareness and doing something to help children discover the joy of reading, which will hugely benefit them.
“Areas like Grimsby are very socio-economically diverse, so while some children are more fortunate, we also have families who struggle to even put a meal on the table, let alone buy their children a book.”
Zane, who has been awarded an MBE for his work helping deprived children, sent the books to BookTrust so The Sun on Sunday can pay to recycle them. The charity then begins the free distribution of bright and colourful new publications carefully chosen by its children’s books experts. They will be passed on via schools, children’s centres, food banks, refuges and family support teams.Join The Sun on Sunday's Books For Kids campaign Send your OLD books to BookTrust and they'll send great NEW books to schoolsCredit: Paul Cousans - The Sun
How to send your books
YOU can either post your old books or send them via Hermes. The courier company, which delivers in excess of 630million parcels a year in the UK, has agreed to deliver the packages at the reduced cost of £1.99 for a medium-sized box (66cm x 41cm x 38cm maximum, with maximum weight of 5kg).
Hermes UK CEO Martijn De Lange said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Sun on Sunday and BookTrust by making our nationwide network of local couriers and local ParcelShops and Lockers available to accept these books. This is a fantastic campaign.”
SENDING BY POST
The address to send your old books to is: Books For Kids, PO Box 485, Grays, Essex RM17 7HY.
SENDING BY HERMES
Go to myhermes.co.uk and select “Return A Parcel”. Search for “The Sun on Sunday” and click on The Sun on Sunday logo.
Enter “books” in the order ID field, enter your email address (they need this to send you the postage label) and choose “other” for your reason to return. Choose from ParcelShop drop-off (no printer needed) or courier collection (home printer needed).
Pay the £1.99 via debit card and you will receive an email with details of how to print your label at home (if you have chosen a courier collection).
Or if you have chosen ParcelShop drop-off, take your phone or tablet and your parcel to your nearest Hermes ParcelShop, show the shopkeeper the QR code on the email – and your label can be printed in the shop and attached to your parcel.
Hermes has more than 5,000 ParcelShops and Lockers. To find your nearest Hermes ParcelShop, just enter your postcode in the Hermes ParcelShop finder on the website – myhermes.co.uk.
Tracey Davia, manager of West Kingsdown Pre-school near Sevenoaks in Kent, is backing our campaign too.
She said: “It is tragic that some children don’t have a book and that’s why we are getting right behind The Sun on Sunday’s Books For Kids campaign. Books open up the world to children. Our parents have been bringing in boxes of books to help.”
Tonight Simon Cowell told of his joy at reading with his six-year-old son Eric. He said: “I love reading books with him. I believe they inspire learning, fun and imagination, which is why I totally support this campaign, because anything that helps more young people to read is a good thing.”
Towie favourite and mum-of-two Amy Childs believes reading provides an opportunity for children to escape.
She said: “My daughter Polly and I are reading Grumbalina And The Day Everything Changed by Karina Frederiks.
“I really wanted to get Polly interested in reading at a young age to help with her development. But it also means we get to spend some quality mummy-daughter time together.Simon Cowell said of books: 'I believe they inspire learning, fun and imagination'Credit: PA:Press Association Boris Johnson has also backed our Books For Kids campaignCredit: Getty - Pool Amy Childs said about reading with her daughter: 'We get to spend some quality mummy-daughter time together'Credit: Andrew Styczynski - The Sun
Cressida Cowell backs Books For Kids
THE How To Train Your Dragon author and mum of three is pleased to back our campaign and said: “I am delighted The Sun on Sunday and BookTrust are launching this wonderful project.”
Cressida, who lives in London, has sold more than 11million books in 38 languages worldwide.
She added: “Reading gives you three magical powers – intelligence, creativity and empathy – and we know from decades of research what a difference it makes to children’s life chances.
“The reality right now is that access to books is a problem, because many children are not at school and libraries are closed. For parents and carers who cannot afford to buy books, this project will give some joy at a challenging time, as well as providing an academic boost.
“Reading is magic, and magic is for everyone.”By Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate
“I think everyone should be able to have access to books and I think what The Sun on Sunday and BookTrust is doing is fantastic.”
BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and helps 3.9million children each year across the UK with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading. It is dedicated to getting children reading because it is proven to help them do better at school and makes them happier, healthier, more empathetic and creative.
Our campaign comes as the latest figures from The National Literacy Trust reveal almost 400,000 disadvantaged children in the UK do not have a book of their own to ignite their imaginations and learn from.
Tips to get your children reading
Alex Bellos, co-author of the best-selling children’s book series Football School, said: “This is a brilliant initiative which I support 110 per cent.
“Not only are books important for mental wellbeing and happiness, whatever your age, but reading as a child massively improves your chances of doing well at school.
“Every one of these carefully selected books that enters a household is a goal scored on behalf of the nation’s kids.”For more information on the campaign as well as videos and activities to keep your child entertained, go to booktrust.org.uk/booksforkids.
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