Today, Bupa Foundation and Middlesbrough Reads announce a donation of 135 paperback copies of Bloomsbury Publishing's The Book of Hopes to 45 primary schools in Middlesbrough, providing an essential boost of hope to children during the second national lockdown.
Research shows that Middlesbrough has the greatest literacy need of any area in England. Middlesbrough Reads is a local literacy campaign delivered by the National Literacy Trust to give young children the literacy skills they need to start school and reach their full potential.
Local schools have received The Book of Hopes, Bloomsbury's collection of inspiring short stories, artwork and poems from more than 130 much-loved children's authors, illustrators and poets. The book was launched and curated by author Katherine Rundell in response to the first national lockdown in April.
Children in Middlesbrough are encouraged to enter the National Literacy Trust's competition for all 5,000 schools who received the donations nationwide. The charity is requesting teachers and children share information on how they're spreading optimism and hope in school and the community, taking inspiration from the artwork and writing in Bloomsbury's original version.
Primary school teachers are askesd to collate the work to create a Scrapbook of Hopes. Entrants will be in for a chance to win a set of Katherine Rundell's best-selling books and exclusively signed artwork for their school library. One school will receive a virtual visit from Katherine Rundell.
The competition runs from 26 November until 31 January, and teachers should complete a short form and submit photos of their unique work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Literacy Trust research shows that reading for pleasure improves mental wellbeing, with more than half (59%) of children saying reading in lockdown this spring made them feel better and half (50%) saying it inspired them to dream about the future.
Allison Potter, Manager of Middlesbrough Reads Hub says:
"We're delighted that such an uplifting book has made its way into local schools. The Book of Hopes provides much-needed light and has the power to put lots of smiles on faces.
"The creative minds of Middlesbrough's children have given me hope during lockdown and seeing lots of enthusiasm for our projects so far, from Roald Dahl themed challenges to creating a community story, Parmo to the Rescue!, has been a real privilege.
"So I cannot wait to see some of the entries to the Scrapbook of Hopes competition - especially as the entries will showcase what children can achieve when they come together to spread joy."
Katherine Rundell, author and curator of Bloomsbury Publishing's The Book of Hopes says:
"I started The Book of Hopes at a moment when the world looked very bleak; and having such a tsunami of joy and delight in my inbox, as more than 100 illustrators and writers sent in their work, was transformative.
"I am so vastly glad that 15,000 copies of the book will reach the kids who need hope most; will be read and pored over and laughed at and covered in food stains and underlined and loved."
Alex Cole, Chair of the Bupa Foundation says:
"The Bupa Foundation is proud to support this important initiative to put the Book of Hopes into the hands of children who might need it the most.
"The National Literacy Trust has shown the valuable and important link between literacy and the wellbeing of children and young people.
"We cannot wait to see entries to the Scrapbook of Hopes competition from primary schools and hear how children have spread hope, kindness and a love of reading within their communities."
More information on Bupa Foundation's donation of 15,000 copies of The Book of Hopes and ideas, resources and inspiration for the Scrapbook of Hopes competition can be found on the Literacy Trust website.