1.45 million free books to be gifted through Booktime: two books for every 4-5 year old in England and Wales
Booktrust and Pearson today announce the new titles for Booktime, which will give two free books to every child starting school in England and Wales in the 2012-13 school year. This year’s books for children in England are The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit, published by Frederick Warne &Co., an imprint of Penguin Children’s, and Tim’s Din, from the Phonics Bug series by Pearson UK, part of Pearson's education business. 4-5 year olds in Wales will receive The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit as well as a Welsh language title, to be announced this summer.
725,000 children aged 4-5 will receive a free book pack in their first year of primary school, each pack containing two books to keep. In total 1.45 million books will be given to reception-aged children through Booktime, which aims to inspire a lifelong love of reading by encouraging families to have fun reading together. Each free book pack is a timely reminder of the continuing importance of sharing stories with children even when they have started school.
This will be the first time the free books programme has delivered books to every 4-5 year old in Wales, after a successful Booktime pilot in Bridgend and Wrexham. Thanks to a partnership between Pearson, Booktrust and the Welsh Government, 35,000 children in Wales’ Foundation Phase will receive a free Booktime book bag in the 2012-13 school year.
The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit is a playful and funny retelling of Beatrix Potter’s original story The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It is a special anniversary edition to mark 110 years since Frederick Warne first published the original tale. Through Booktime, this lovely picture book will introduce a new generation of readers to the escapades of Britain’s most famous rabbit. Families all over England and Wales will be joining in with Peter Rabbit’s 110th birthday celebrations by sharing this very special story.
In England, Booktime packs will also contain a book for children to support them on their reading journey, from Pearson UK. Tim’s Din, written by Monica Hughes and illustrated by Bill Ledger,is a lively and entertaining story about the mischief that little monkeys can get up to when they’re bored. With simple rhyming text and expressive illustrations, Tim’s Din gives children the chance to try telling a fun and simple story themselves.
Peter Hughes, head of corporate responsibility at Pearson, said:
‘One of the greatest gifts that we can give the next generation is a passion for reading. Books open doors to new worlds as well as help explain the world in which we live. Good reading skills are the basic building block that is essential for all of us to learn and to progress through our lives. It is also never too early to inspire a passion for reading. We and Booktrust hope that the gift of the Booktime books will provide another way for families, teachers, librarians across England and now Wales as well as the Pearson Booktime volunteers to help hook the next generation of kids on reading.’
Viv Bird, Chief Executive of Booktrust, said:
‘Booktime is bringing two exciting books to over 700,000 homes this year, thanks to the partnership between Booktrust and Pearson. This year’s book pack for England combines the timeless appeal of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit with the modern, computer generated artwork of Tim’s Din - and we await the selection of the Welsh language title with great anticipation.We know that all families will find something to love in their two free books, and that they will enjoy lots of laughter and surprises as they share the stories over and over again.’
The inclusion of The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit in this year’s Booktime pack is a highlight of a year-long celebration of Peter Rabbit’s 110th anniversary. Other elements of the year include the September publication of the brand new 24th tale: The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Oscar-winning actress and screen writer Emma Thompson, the launch of an exciting new Peter Rabbit website and special anniversary publishing including the release of all 23 Original Tales in coloured editions. In addition, ‘Happy Birthday Peter Rabbit’ events will be taking place throughout the year including Peter Rabbit appearances at Hay, Edinburgh, Bath and Cheltenham Literature Festivals. A brand new Peter Rabbit animation is also scheduled for 2012/2013.
Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Children’s said:
‘Encouraging a lifelong love of reading is a fundamental part of what we do at Penguin Children’s and it is so exciting that through Booktime, we are able to reach so many children and enable them and their families to share in the joy of reading. Beatrix Potter was a wonderful storyteller - so good that 110 years later, her naughty little rabbit is still with us, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit can be enjoyed by a new generation of readers through this very special retelling. I hope these books will inspire many hours of mischievous fun and laughter for children across England and Wales.’
Booktime will be supported by a range of downloads and games on the website: www.booktime.org.uk
** For further information on the Booktime programme and to request interviews please contact Will White on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8875 4583 OR Alice Ingall on email@example.com or 020 8875 4827
Notes to Editors
Booktime is run by Booktrust, the independent charity which empowers people through reading and writing, and Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. The programme was launched in 2006 by Pearson in partnership with Booktrust. Booktime aims to inspire a lifelong love of reading by encouraging families to have fun reading together. The programme supports, encourages and enables reading for pleasure in the home at an important transition stage in a child’s learning and development. Book packs have included titles from a long list of much-loved children’s writers and illustrators: Lynley Dodd, Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Ian Whybrow, Adrian Reynolds, June Crebbin, Ed Vere, Geraldine Taylor, Amy Schimler, Eric Carle, Monica Hughes and Claudia Lloyd.
Pearson is the world’s leading learning company. Its major businesses are: Pearson, the world's biggest education business, providing print and digital learning materials and services used by more than 100 million students of all ages every year; The Financial Times Group, which has an international network of business and financial newspapers and online services that are read by millions of business executives and investors every day; and Penguin Group, which is one of the pre-eminent names in consumer publishing, with an unrivalled range of fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers, and classic titles. Through its books, newspapers and online products and services, Pearson helps people of all ages to live and learn. See www.pearson.com
Since the Booktime programme began, Pearson’s UK staff have been giving their time to read with children in local primary schools through its Booktime Volunteer Reading Scheme. For the academic year 2010-2011,210 volunteers spent 3,375 hours (the equivalent of 482 working days) reading with children.
Booktrust is an independent reading and writing charity that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families and communities, and culture in the UK. Booktrust makes a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age. We work to empower people of all ages and abilities by giving them confidence and choices about reading. And we want individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from the wellbeing that a rich and positive engagement in reading and writing can bring.
Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Children’s Laureate, and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers. See www.booktrust.org.uk
About Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, was published by Frederick Warne in 1902. It went on to become one of the best-selling children’s classics of all time. The World of Beatrix Potter™, initiated by Potter herself, is now one of the world’s longest running and largest international literature-based licensing programmes with more than 350 licensees worldwide.
- Over 150 million Peter Rabbit™ books have been sold worldwide in more than 35 languages
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit has never been out of print since it was first published
- www.peterrabbit.com attracts more 50,000 unique visitors per month