Walker Books is collaborating with independent bookshops across the UK to give free copies of Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield to local heroes in their communities.
The Local Heroes campaign aims to celebrate individuals who have made a difference over the past year and each bookshop is being awarded 25 copies to distribute. Participating indies include Tales on Moon Lane, Warwick Books, Falmouth Bookseller, Jaffe & Neale and Far From the Madding Crowd, with more than 40 involved in total. More than 1,000 books will be donated across the UK.
Books will go to volunteers and restaurants who provided free meals, NHS staff, supermarket workers, postmen and women, local food bank managers, teachers and librarians. Copies will also be gifted to charity organisations, schools and food banks to distribute to children and families.
Walker reprinted the hardback edition of the story several times and brought forward the paperback to meet the high demand the children's story received. The book was first released in June 2020 as a free e-book, and was downloaded more than 50,000 times, read by actor Stanley Tucci as part of a charity partnership. Following the release of the hardback in October, on Mother’s Day this year the book was read by "Bridgerton" actor Regé-Jean Page for CBeebies' "Bedtime Stories". It is currently shortlisted for the BA Indie Book Awards in the picture book category.
Ed Ripley, UK sales and marketing director at Walker Books, said: "We are so pleased to have had such an amazing response from our beloved Indie bookshops to this campaign to help them and their communities thank and celebrate their 'Lockdown Local Heroes' with this special and beautiful book."
Halls commented: “Rain Before Rainbows speaks of ‘friends who will help us, courageous and kind’ and I’m so delighted that this story of perseverance, hope and joy will be gifted to some of those in our communities who have shown us precisely what these qualities look like… those who have been courageous… kind… and who have shone like rainbows on the very greyest of days. It’s very fitting that independent bookshops – the heartbeat of our communities – are helping us to spread the love and say thank you.”
Litchfield added: “I am incredibly happy that our book Rain Before Rainbows is part of this brilliant ‘Local Heroes’ campaign. I think that this pandemic has made more of us finally appreciate a number of people in our community that we have taken for granted for far too long. The selflessness and kindness that I personally have witnessed over the past year has been really heart-warming. I sincerely hope that this spirit continues long after the virus. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard in such a strange and dangerous time to keep us all safe and well.”
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