Major publishers are donating e-books to the Get London Reading Campaign, backed by Nook.
Hachette UK, HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House have signed up to donate titles from bestselling children’s authors, including Michael Morpurgo’s A Medal for Leroy (HarperCollins) and Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Penguin).
The books will be loaded onto 1,000 Nook Simple Touch e-readers being donated to reading volunteers with literacy charity Beanstalk. The volunteers will then take the e-readers into primary schools with low levels of literacy to encourage a love of books and reading.
To mark the digital book donation, publishers joined Mayor of London Boris Johnson, London Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev and Barnes & Noble m.d Jim Hilt to read to their favourite stories to children at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Battersea this morning (16th May).
Johnson selected The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame to read and told children his favourite character was Mr Toad. Lebedev told spoke to children about why his newspaper was backing the campaign and said: “I wasn’t able to read when I was your age at school.”
Jim Hilt, m.d. of Nook’s parent company Barnes & Noble, said he wanted to provide affordable access to digital content for schools and families in the UK. He said: “This is consistent with our belief that it takes everyone in the book business to rally behind the idea of getting young people to read.”
Gail Rebuck, c.e.o. of Random House, said that today marked a key milestone for Beanstalk’s literacy campaign. She said: “We have donated ten fantastic e-books from authors who are supporting the Nook partnership including Jacqueline Wilson, James Patterson and Bear Grylls, that will capture the imaginations of young people and support Beanstalk volunteers who are working to improve literacy levels in schools across the UK.”
Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarperCollins UK, said: “At HarperCollins, we are passionate about extending the joy of reading and have long supported Beanstalk’s amazing work promoting literacy in schools.”
Boris Johnson is also backing a giant readathon, which will be held in Trafalgar Square on 13th July as part of the Get London Reading campaign, supported by the London Evening Standard. The free event will involve famous authors and celebrity storytellers and feature interactive entertainment.