Budget airline easyJet has launched a “flybrary” in its entire UK fleet with 7,000 classic books selected by Jacqueline Wilson.
The campaign follows research by the company which shows that 80% of parents in Britain say children are reading less in comparison to when they were younger.
Around 7,000 copies of children’s classics including Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz and The Railway Children will be distributed across easyJet planes, all of which are published by Penguin Classics. The books will be placed on easyJet’s UK fleet of 147 aircraft in the passenger seat-pockets. Children will leave the books on board for the next passengers after they leave.
When they land, children can also download free samples of other classics as well as a sample of Wilson’s latest book, Wave Me Goodbye (Doubleday Childrens), from easyjet.com/bookclub.
Wilson launched the scheme at London’s Gatwick Airport and described flying as “the perfect place to escape into a literary adventure” She said: “The long summer break is the ideal opportunity for children to get stuck into a great story.
"Reading soothes, entertains, grows vocabulary and exercises the mind and a flight is the perfect place to escape into a literary adventure. I’ve chosen books that children might not have read, but are familiar with, maybe from film and television." She added that she had selected stories to appeal to both boys and girls.
easyJet c.e.o, Carolyn McCall, said: “The launch of our summer kids book club is another initiative designed to make flying with us more fun and help to get kids hooked on a book at the start of the holiday season at the same time. Our in-flight lending library means young passengers can pick up a brilliant book during their flight and then return it to the seat pocket at the end of the flight for the next customer to enjoy onboard.”
The initiative follows research by easyJet who polled 2,000 British parents whose children are aged between eight and 12, which reveals that 83% of parents say children are reading less in comparison to when they themselves were younger.
The research revealed that kids are reading an average of three books over the course of their entire summer holidays, in contrast to an average of four books which their parents would have read at the same age - a drop of 25% over the course of a generation.
Of those surveyed, 90% of parents said that they believed the availability of electronic entertainment devices has led to a decline in reading for pleasure. Eight in 10 parents believe that the widespread presence of digital entertainment has caused an adverse effect on literacy levels.
The first books will be on board on Saturday (22nd July).