Walker Books is organising a 10,000-book giveaway of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury to celebrate the picture book’s 30th anniversary.
The publisher will donate the books to communities via charitable organisations such as National Literacy Trust (NLT), Read for Good, The Reading Agency and the Siobhan Dowd Trust, saying 150,000 five-year-olds in England started primary school without the reading skills expected for their age last year, according to research from the Department of Education.
Karen Lotz, group m.d. of the Walker Books Group, said: “At Walker we believe in the power of great storytelling and are truly saddened by the deep and lifelong inequality caused by the lack of access to books for children from deprived backgrounds. We hope that this giveaway of a true classic will help families across the country share in the joy of going on a bear hunt with their children and help to instil a true love of reading for life.”
Last week Rosen took part in an event at London Zoo to celebrate the giveaway. School children from Tower Hamlets in London took part in a “bear hunt” at the zoo and received a free anniversary edition of the book.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the NLT, said: “When children enjoy reading and have books of their own at home, it can transform their life chances. But 1 in 8 children from disadvantaged communities in the UK don’t have a single book of their own. We are thrilled to be working with Walker to give many children the first book they have ever owned and to inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime.”
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has sold more than 11 million copies in 42 languages over the last 30 years, according to Walker.
© Alex Dimmos