How well do you think you know the Book Trust?
To be honest, I had a vague idea of what they did. I knew they were responsible for Bookstart, as I can remember my health visitor bringing two lovely book bags to my house not longer after my daughters were born. I also knew they were responsible for Booktime, as both my daughters brought a book and a bag home from school when they started in reception, but that was it. It wasn't until I was invited along to their offices last week, that I really discovered the depth of their involvement in the literary world. So I wanted to share with you ten things that I never ever knew about Booktrust.
Did you know that probably the easiest way to find your next read is by visiting the Book Trust Book Finder? They have developed a user friendly app that allows you to choose the age group first, followed by the genre you are interested in. Book Trust then does all the work for you, producing a visual representation of all the books they think you would like to fit your request.
The competition has been running since 2000 and celebrates the best authors and illustrators for children. There are two categories - Best Story and Best Book with Facts. Previous winners include Matt Haig, Katherine Rundell and Lauren St John.
Every two years an outstanding writer or illustrator is chosen to celebrate their achievement in children's publishing. In June 2015, Chris Riddell was picked. Previous holders of this title include Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson.
The Letterbox Club is managed in partnership with the University of Leicesters and is an award winning programme that provides book parcels to children aged between 5 & 13 who are in care or in the adoption process. It is available on a subscription basis and the children chosen are usually picked by local authorities or schools. Each child is enrolled in the programme for six months and receives a beautiful parcel of books alongside stationary and maths activities, every month between May and October. For many of the children who are chosen, this might be the first time they have ever received mail addressed to then and often they are the first books they have ever owned. This really is an amazing and yet little known part of what the Book Trust do.
Bookbuzz is a subsidised programme aimed primarily at Year 7 & 8 students in secondary school in a move to encourage teenagers to find pleasure in reading. Participating schools give their children the opportunity to choose one book for themselves out of a carefully selected list of 17 titles. Due to the immense support from the children's publishing industry, these books are offered at a subsidised price of £3.00 per student.
The schools involved also receive two sets of the chosen Bookbuzz book sets for their school library and staff room, as well as access to a website featuring all the Bookbuzz authors and a guide on how to develop a stronger reading culture within their school.
Every six months they pick a new writer who either blogs or vlogs regularly over their period in residence, discussing anything and everything to do with reading and writing. The present writer in residence is Phil Earle, who recently took over for Sita Brahmachari.
From tips on writing short stories to poetry, as well helping create characters, there is so much information on their website to help you with your writing. And it isn't just aimed at children, even published authors will find something to help them on there.
Bear's Reading Adventure was created in-house to help encourage parents to bring their children to the library and read together as a family. Over 350 Local Education Authorities were contacted about this and only 8 turned it down. Bear's Reading Adventure is a story sticker book aimed at children between the ages of 0-5.
They run the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, which was originally the Orange Prize for Fiction. They also run The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and The BBC National Short Story Award.
Between them they review over 40 books a month and they like to tell everyone about the ones they loved best. They even produce a ' Booktrust Best Book Guide' every year too.
So that's just 10 things that you might not know about Booktrust, but there is so much more that they do. Some of which I will be discussing on Words and Pictures later this week.
Booktrust have a wonderful website, so I would recommend spending some time on it, just to see how invaluable they are to the book loving community.