Twelve indie bookshops have been awarded HarperCollins Literary Project Grants with some of the winners planning to help schoolchildren, launch pop-up libraries and create a magazine for young readers.
The winning shops will receive a grant of up to £2,000 each to put their ideas into action with the projects focusing on supporting early years and primary age literary in local community, with HarperCollins and the National Literacy Trust on hand with advice.
The winners, announced during Independent Bookshop Week, include Red Lion Books in Colchester, Essex, who will work with a local community service to help support new refugee and migrant families in the area by providing a safe and welcoming environment and structured storytelling.
Round Table Books in Brixton, London, will be working with dyslexic or otherwise differently-abled children and their carers to help them enrich storytelling at home as one part of their project.
Khadija Osman, lead bookseller at Round Table Books, said: ‘We absolutely love what HarperCollins is doing because it’s showing children that their bookshops care about them and want them to achieve the best they can.’
Forum Books in Corbridge, Northumberland are planning to help a group of Year 3 and Year 4 children to design, make and launch their own book. The project will explore the roles involved in making a book therefore encouraging communication skills, and will aim to raise aspirations and awareness of the world of books.
The Book Hive in Norwich, Norfolk will create a scheme to encourage and reward young readers with sew-on ‘Book Explorer patches’ when they have read certain types of books or a certain number of books, similar to those for sports achievements at school. To help with accessibility, they will create a pop-up library of children’s titles in popular family spots around the city.
The other winning bookshops are Edinburgh Bookshop (Edinburgh), Lindum Books (Lincoln), Little Ripon Bookshop (Ripon, West Yorkshire), Read (Holmfirth, West Yorkshire), Sevenoaks Bookshop (Kent), Snug Bookshop (Bridgwater, Somerset), Stanfords (Bristol) and The Rabbit Hole (Brigg, North Lincolnshire).
Katie Fulford, HarperCollins special projects director, said: "These grants are a fantastic way to help broaden the reach of The Literacy Project and engage booksellers and are an opportunity to effect real change on a local level. We want to support bookshops’ efforts to inspire a joy of reading for pleasure in young children and give them the skills they need to start school with confidence."
Nearly 50 indies applied for the grants. HarperCollins originally pledged to award ten grants, but due to the strength of the applications 12 winners were chosen.