There have been plenty of ideas on how to keep libraries open – everything from staffing them with volunteers to Banksy funding them.
But heading to the skies is a new one. The National Literacy Trust (NLT) has teamed up with easyJet to help kids with their heads in the clouds get their creative juices flowing.
There will be 17,500 children’s reads, including Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Alma Books classics like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book, translated into seven languages placed in seat pockets across 296 easyJet aircraft as families jet off for fun in the sun this summer.
The campaign is hoping to get kids reading, writing and drawing to boost their communication skills after research carried out by the airline found that 22 per cent of parents reported that their kids hadn’t visited a library in a year.
They also discovered that the average British child reads 11 books a year, amounting to four hours of reading for pleasure every week.
Last year, 27,000 people worldwide earned an income selling street papers, making a total of £23.4 million.
Add the NLT’s figures that 770,129 children don’t own a book of their own and it is clear that child literacy needs lift-off.
“Getting books into the hands of children, and helping them discover a love of reading, can set them on the path to a more successful future,” said Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust. “EasyJet’s Flybrary initiative is a fantastic way of getting thousands of children into reading this summer.”
Tina Milton, director of cabin crew at easyJet added: “Reading is so important for fuelling a child’s development, vocabulary and imagination and a flight provides the perfect opportunity for them to get stuck into a book. We are passionate about creating family friendly initiatives that make flying with us fun and easier for parents.”
Campaign ambassadors and best-selling children’s author and Radio 1 DJ Greg James launched the initiative at London Gatwick Airport on Wednesday with a special reading and book signing for young travellers.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding and fun activity and when easyJet told us their plans to get books into the hands of kids and to encourage them to write their own, we couldn’t have been more keen to get involved,” he said. “Writing our series of books has been one of the most enjoyable things we’ve ever done and we want to encourage as many people as possible to give it a go.”
The Big Issue has backed boosting literacy and libraries with our #WhyBooksMatter campaign, culminating in last year’s Big Book Giveaway which saw us send books to groups of people around the UK who would not otherwise have access to them.
Image: Taylor Herring/easyJet