According to a study of over 1,000 UK parents1, two-thirds (66%) of children didn’t read a book during their break from school this summer, but 75% spent more than an hour every day playing on a smartphone or tablet.
The research, which also found that three quarters (77%) of parents think their child read less during the Summer than they would have done if they were at school. This comes as Key Stage 2 SATs figures reveal that less than half of boys currently meet the expected reading and writing standards2.
In response to these findings, Book People has launched a new nationwide animal-themed picture book competition, designed to encourage children to feed their imaginations, and develop their writing skills, as they go into a new academic year.
Aspiring young writers, aged five to eleven, are being given the chance to have their own picture book brought to life by renowned illustrator Ada Grey and published by Little Tiger Press. The winning story will then be sold exclusively at thebookpeople.co.uk – with all proceeds being donated to children’s charity Action for Children.
The competition will be judged by an expert panel including representatives from Book People and Little Tiger Press, Ada Grey, Shamalia – a Young Ambassador from Action for Children, TV personality and Action for Children Celebrity Supporter Laura Hamilton, and author and presenter Fearne Cotton.
Speaking about her involvement, mother of two Fearne, said: “Reading to my kids at bedtime is the most brilliant part of my day – I love seeing how stories fuel their imaginations. This competition not only encourages children to be creative, but gives them the chance to be a published author! What parent wouldn’t be incredibly proud? I’m so excited to read the amazing entries – I’ll definitely be asking Honey and Rex which stories they like best.”
Television presenter and mum of two Laura Hamilton, also a competition judge, added: “There are so many ways to communicate with children, and although it’s one of the simplest ways, reading a book is one of the most powerful. Books don’t come with flashy lighting or theme tunes, so it’s up to the child to create the surroundings, voices and sounds in their head as they take in the words. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can come up with and will definitely want a copy to read to my son and daughter!”
Sarah Walden at Book People, said: “We all know the joy of a great bedtime story, and how it can take children and parents alike off on an exciting adventure or into a new world before bed. They’re the perfect opportunity for families to switch off and spend time together without any distractions, fuelling active imaginations and building the foundations for a lifelong love of reading. With this competition we wanted to give children an opportunity to write their own bedtime story, showing off their fabulous imaginations and creating something that will capture young readers as they drift off to sleep. We will be helping entrants to come up with the best story they can, by sharing tips and ideas from successful authors and celebrities throughout September and October at thebookpeople.co.uk. We hope they inspire some fantastic entries!”
Jude Evans, Publisher at Little Tiger Press, said: “I am hugely excited to read the entries to the Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition. My role as a publisher involves anticipating which stories will engage and entertain our young readers, so I can’t wait to see what their fertile imaginations conjure up when invited to write their own. To take a child on the thrilling journey to publication will be a real joy, and a magical experience for our lucky winner.”
The judging panel will select five shortlisted entrants to attend an exclusive event in London on Thursday 3rd November, where they can meet the judging panel and where the winner will be announced. The winner will not only see their creation turned into a published book, but will also receive £250 in books for themselves and £250 for their school. Profits from the book sales will go to Action for Children.
Entrants have until 24th October 2016 to submit their story with an animal theme at www.thebookpeople.co.uk/bedtime.