PRH to match bookshop crowdfunder to give schoolchildren Greta Thunberg's book

PRH to match bookshop crowdfunder to give schoolchildren Greta Thunberg's book

A Big Green Bookshop crowdfunder to get copy of climate activist Greta Thunberg's book into schools across the UK has raised more than £11,000 in a month, with Penguin Random House matching copies raised and creating an accompanying classroom pack.

Simon Key's online bookshop teamed up with author Melissa Harrison to launch a Crowdfunder – inspired by seeing a young girl request the title at a bookshop - to supply 100 schools across the UK with 10 copies each of No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference (Penguin Press). As revealed last month, the campaign surpassed its original £3,000 target in three days and is now totalling £11,176 thanks to more than 550 supporters.

Penguin Random House stepped in earlier this month and agreed to match all copies of the book – which retail at £2.99 – up to £10,000 worth. The publisher has also developed an online suite of materials for schools to accompany the books, as a result of the crowdfunder’s success.

Key told The Bookseller he has been taken aback by the huge public response. He said: “It’s been a really crazy month, it just keeps on going. There has been so much more than we could have hoped for. It was just an idea that Melissa tweeted about, to get 10 copies into school. It’s become this phenomenon.

“I have more than 1,000 emails from schools asking to take part and I hope we can get books to all of them. I’m hoping to get out to the distribution centres in September and live-tweet the books being sent out. We should get the copies out in the first or second week of September so it’s a really great way to start the school year. Now PRH are doing classroom materials which will be downloadable, as a result of the crowdfunder. There will be a link that takes people to the free resource materials.”

Key is hoping that even more people will donate before the deadline of next Monday (2nd September). “Crowdfunder has been really helpful with the campaign and asked us this week if we wanted to stretch the target again but I think this is enough. There are still five days left.”

Penguin announced plans to publish the 16-year-old's collected speeches in May, as well as a family memoir. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference is a selection of 11 of the Swedish schoolgirl’s key speeches, made between September last year to April 2019. 

Penguin Press' senior commissioning editor Chloe Currens, who took on the books following former publishing director Helen Conford's move to Profile, is delighted with the crowdfunder. “Greta’s activism has inspired young people around the world to join the fight for climate justice, and to believe that their voices really can – and must – be heard," she told The Bookseller. "Through the Big Green Bookshop’s brilliant campaign, Greta’s words will reach the hearts and minds of even more children in the UK. We couldn’t be more thrilled to support it.“

The Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, Haringey, closed its physical premises in January following a decade of business with Key taking the business online. He continues to run the weekly #buyastrangerabook initiative. Fellow co-founder Tim West secured temporary home for a co-operative bookshop, The All Good Bookshop, in a nearby premises in Wood Green last week.

In April 2018, the Big Green Bookshop helped £2,285 to ensure a copy of The Lost Words (Hamish Hamilton) went to every primary school in Haringey.