Pan Macmillan is partnering with Quick Reads in a project "to help vulnerable mothers discover the love of reading".
Together the publisher and charity have published Baby at the Beach Café by Lucy Diamond as part of this year’s Quick Reads programme - a story about many of the challenges faced by women when they are pregnant and having their first baby, and the short story follow-up to Diamond's bestselling novel The Beach Cafe that published with Pan in 2011.
The project was developed by Anna Bond, UK sales director at Pan Macmillan and Cathy Rentzenbrink, project director of Quick Reads, who recently announced she is stepping down to focus on her writing.
Bond and Rentzenbrink have partnered with a number of organisations including Home-Start, which will take free copies into the homes of "vulnerable mothers". Rob Parkinson, chief executive of Home-Start UK, said: “Anything that allows people to talk about how challenging it can be having a new baby is very important. We’re delighted that the Quick Reads project means Home-Start volunteers can make this new book available to some of the mums they are supporting.”
Baby on the Beach Café will also be included in World Book Night, with the aim of getting copies in to the hands of pregnant women and new mothers.
Bond said: “The idea was that if we could find an author to write the perfect Quick Read which spoke to women at that stage of their lives, to address many of the challenges that they are facing so that the reading experience feels very personal to them, we gift them the love of reading. Our ambition is that new mothers will share their new love of reading with their children who will in turn grow up loving books.
“Lucy Diamond has perfectly written the book to brief. It ties into her already bestselling Beach Café series so we have no doubt it will appeal to her existing fans and also be a wonderful introduction to new readers.”
Rentzenbrink added: "Time and again when we read or hear how vulnerable women have changed their lives for the better, the intervention point was that they became pregnant and wanted their baby to have a better life. Lucy has written the perfect book which will entertain and inform people who may not be used to reading and, hopefully, help them open up to a whole new world."
Copies of Baby at the Beach Café are also being used by reader development librarians and family learning practitioners in Devon and Cornwall. One library in Devon held a 'Baby Day’ for new mums on World Book Day last week and the library service in Plymouth is working closely with parents and developing readers. The Cornwall College Group has 10 Learning Centres across Cornwall and Devon, and has partnerships with a wide range of local communities and organisations that provide programmes to help local people "fulfil their potential", including projects such as Young Mums Will Achieve.
Kay Ecclestone, learning resources manager for The Cornwall College Group, said: “I am really excited at the idea of being able to give these books and start more people on their reading journey.”
Today (7th March) there will be reception at the House of Commons to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Quick Reads and International Women’s Day, which is tomorrow, with an address by Baroness Gail Rebuck.