Big book donation gives the gift of reading

18 December 2020 - News

Manchester Children’s Book Festival supports Read Manchester initiative to give books to children in need

A new book donation programme launched in the run up to Christmas to ensure no child misses out on the gift of reading during the festive season.

Manchester Children’s Book Festival (MCBF) at Manchester Metropolitan University is supporting the Read Manchester Christmas Book Giveaway which will see thousands of books given to children.

After the success of MCBF’s own Big Book Giveaway in the summer – which saw 2,000 books donated to help keep children reading during the COVID-19 crisis – they are now working with Read Manchester and various major publishers to ensure they can together make a greater impact across the city.

Since the first lockdown started in March, Read Manchester has gifted more than 22,000 books and magazines to help keep children reading.

This Christmas, 7,000 donated books were sent over to Gorton Library where they were sorted by library staff and distributed to 60 local organisations. This included foodbanks, community groups, Sure Start Children’s Centres and organisations supporting homeless families, to give books to the children they help.

Kaye Tew, Director of MCBF, said: “After our successful MCBF book giveaway in the summer, when Carol Ann Duffy wrote to publishers asking them to donate books, we were delighted to partner with Read Manchester to do this again for Christmas.

“I am grateful to our many lovely publisher contacts, who came up trumps again, with a range of fantastic titles to reach the hearts and minds of young readers. It is even more exciting that we already have commitment from these, and other publishers, to continue their support for our Read Manchester book giving programme into the new year.”

MCBF has liaised with several major publishers, which have collectively donated books to the campaign. This included donations from Hachette Kids, Otter-Barry Books, Old Barn Books, Usborne, and Chicken House, some of which also supported MCBF’s Big Book Giveaway in the summer.

This campaign is part of the city’s effort to reduce barriers to reading for Manchester children, following a National Literacy Trust survey in July 2020. The survey found that nearly 60 per cent of children used reading to help them feel better, and 50 per cent to help them envisage a better future.

Research from the first lockdown showed that access to books had a direct impact on reading behaviour. Children and young people who did not have their own books, or access to books they liked, read less frequently than before the first lockdown.

After our successful MCBF book giveaway in the summer, when Carol Ann Duffy wrote to publishers asking them to donate books, we were delighted to partner with Read Manchester to do this again for Christmas.
A range of other major publishers have come forward to support the Christmas Book Giveaway. Penguin Random House, which also donated generously to MCBF’s summer book giveaway, has gifted 10,000 books to Read Manchester as part of its programme to support National Literacy Trust Hub areas, which includes Manchester.

The national reading charity BookTrust has also gifted 11,482 books in recognition of the links and partnerships Read Manchester has developed with local community organisations.

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, said: “Helping children to love reading is crucial to developing their literacy skills, well-being and life chances. Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, our libraries team are doing fantastic work in continuing to provide access to our fantastic collection of books and educational resources.

“Reading is the foundation for success later in life, enabling children to succeed at school, helping them develop broader skills and leading to healthier, happier lives.”