Costa Coffee has teamed up with charity The Reading Agency to give out 100,000 books ahead of Christmas to those hardest hit by the pandemic.
Overall, 50,000 book-and-coffee care packages—containing one adult book, one children’s title and a range of festive treats—will be distributed to food banks, community hubs, hospitals and care homes across the UK, in time for Christmas Eve.
The books in each care package have been selected from the works of six bestselling authors connected to the Costa Book Awards. They are: Grandpa Bert and the Ghost Snatchers and Ellie and the Cat (Barrington Stoke) by Malorie Blackman, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Orion), Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins), Kaspar: Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins Children’s Books), Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books) and The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (Penguin Michael Joseph).
Morpurgo said: “Reading is a journey of discovery which set me on the path to writing. Without it, I don’t know where I would be, so I believe it is absolutely vital that every person, whatever age and wherever they live, should have access to books and the doors they allow us to step through. That’s why I’m thrilled with Costa Coffee’s generous book donation and passionate about supporting the work of The Reading Agency.”
The Costa Coffee Gift-A-Book campaign is inspired by Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books with loved ones on Christmas Eve.
High-profile names including Simon Callow, Konnie Huq, Andy McNab, Bobby Seagull and Jacqueline Wilson will also share their own favourite book to give ahead of Christmas Eve, encouraging people to share their top reading choices using #CostaGiftABook.
Karen Napier, c.e.o. of The Reading Agency, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with Costa Coffee. Books connect and transport us to other worlds, but not everyone can access them: this has been especially true in 2020, which has been so challenging for so many. We have had an extraordinary response to the campaign, and we hope that it will bring some much-needed festive cheer to families and communities from Liverpool to Folkestone, from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Mull. We are working towards a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life, and initiatives like this help our work towards giving every child and adult equal access to the joy of reading.”
Neil Lake, m.d. of Costa Coffee UK & Ireland, said: “Tradition is a big part of Christmas and, although this year will feel different for many people, we wanted to help some of those hardest-hit to create a new tradition inspired by this heart-warming custom of gifting books on Christmas Eve. As the proud sponsor of the Costa Book Awards, which is almost in its 50th year, we know the power of a great read and a perfect cup of coffee. Our teams are passionate about supporting the local communities they serve and, by gifting these care packages in partnership with The Reading Agency, we hope to give back to those communities with a comforting and joyful experience at the end of a turbulent year.”