A letter calling for newspapers to donate more space to children’s book reviews has gained more than 1,000 signatures.
The letter, sent to The Bookseller last month by SF Said (pictured), author and instigator of the #CoverKidsBooks campaign, asks newspapers to agree to covering at least one children’s book every week.
“We note with sadness the recent cuts and closures that have affected children's books coverage in UK newspapers. We have sympathy for media organisations trying to survive at a difficult time,” the letter states. “However, we believe that where newspapers still cover books, a fair proportion of their coverage should go to children's books.
“Before these cuts, children's books were receiving just 3% of newspaper review coverage. Yet children's books now account for over 30% of the UK book market. The crucial importance of reading for pleasure at a young age has been well documented, and many authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, librarians, teachers and experts feel this is a golden age for children's literature.”
The letter continues: “Weekly coverage is vital to help those who buy children's books to find regular information on a wide range of literature. This is already the stated policy of bestselling newspapers such as The Sun and The Sunday Times, and it has in the past been the policy of others.”
Recent signatories to the letter include Kate Edwards, the chief executive at Seven Stories, Kimberley Reynolds, professor of children's literature at Newcastle University, and author Elizabeth Laird.
Several authors and illustrators have also signed, such as Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell and Francesca Simon.
The campaign has had several successes in recent months, notably when the Sunday Times increased its weekly children’s book reviews from one to two and when the Times Educational Supplement began reviewing children’s books regularly.