OFFERING A RELEVANT PRODUCT
Our work helps to support some of the most fundamental emotional and social needs of children. Feedback has shown us that a child will engage most strongly with a book that he or she has chosen for themselves. We work closely with settings to design creative, memorable book gifting mechanics that foster agency amongst children and young people, prompt book ‘buzz’ and that help develop reading communities.
Our Pop Up Book Huts and Pop Up Bookshops have been designed to appeal to young people aged 5-11 and to work flexibly within the widest range of settings. Continuous feedback from schools helps us to develop these models.
“The children talked about the Pop Up Bookshop and the books they chose for a long time afterwards. We had groups of children planning to swap books after they finished reading their own book.”
We support settings whose communities present a high level of socioeconomic disadvantage and / or emotional need. The books we gift have inherent pleasure, prompt shared reading occasions and positively influence children’s sense of identity / self esteem.
Amongst our 2022-2023 partner schools 44% of households receive income support, with many further families ‘getting by’ but still without enough even for essentials.
Nationwide, children and young people with a parent in prison are disproportionately likely to suffer economic disadvantage as well as social stigma and further difficulties associated with the absence of one parent.
Women’s refuges, vulnerable women’s groups, food banks and foster placement teams all also receive our books for gifting to the communities they support. These agencies work hard to build the morale, self-esteem and confidence of the young people and parents they support.
“The Children’s Book Project helps our children to understand they deserve to own these lovely things.”
REACHING A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE
We work with a wide variety of settings but most closely with primary schools. This route permits us to reach large numbers of young people within a dynamic environment that can tailor activity to their community’s interests and abilities.
Practitioners in each school design gifting activities that resonate strongly with children whilst their wider relationships with parents and carers ensure the greatest reach.
“It has been fantastic to see children of all abilities from all year groups discussing books with each other, making recommendations and visibly enjoying reading. For some of our children, the books taken from the hut were the first ones they’ve ever owned. We had many questions of ‘do we really get to keep it’?”
We gift to settings across the UK that support families with a high level of financial need but also to organisations whose communities are adversely emotionally impacted.
Our partner settings are all asked to complete a short evaluation questionnaire following their gifting event. This seeks their perspectives on the range, quality and relevance of the books received from us, provide insights into how they were gifted and feedback re. any perceived impacts on engagement with reading for pleasure, conversation about books and reading and literacy confidence.
“The best thing about our Pop Up Book Hut was the dialogue between parents and carers and children about the books they discovered inside.”
OUR WORK IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
90 London schools participate in our annual Discovery programme, which permits every child to choose and take home six books of their own over the course of the academic year. Our ‘deeper gifting’ model stems from practitioner feedback that multiple opportunities to browse for and choose books of their own have a significant impact on a child’s relationship with books and related language development.
OUR WORK IN PRISONS
A nationwide book gifting initiative across 14 prison sites including one women’s prison invites prisoners to sign up to visit a termly Pop Up Bookshop. At these events with the help of our volunteers prisoners can choose a free book for each of their children and write an accompanying handwritten letter. These parcels are then posted to each child care of the parent / guardian at home. Further book gifting takes place during visiting hours and at family events. Ongoing research seeks to understand engagement, the most effective delivery model and any impacts on family cohesion.
“The children enjoyed visiting the Book Hut during the school day, having a chance to explore, read together and then sharing their new favourites with their classmates. It was great to see the children getting excited about choosing and sharing the books.”