From this September, more than 1.4 million free books will be given out to all 4-5 year olds in England.
The Booktime programme, which is managed by independent reading charity Booktrust in association with education and publishing company Pearson, will this year give each child a copy of Mr Big by Ed Vere.
The story is about a lovable gorilla who finds it hard to make friends and get people to look beyond his enormous size to see the kind-hearted character beneath.
All Booktime book packs will also contain a special abridged edition of The Puffin Book of Fantastic First Poems and guidance for parents and carers to encourage sharing books with children. Primary schools and participating libraries will give out the book packs and receive a pack of free resources. Booktime will be supported by a range of interactive games, films and downloads on the website: http://www.booktime.org.uk/
Ed Vere, author of Mr Big commented:
‘It's truly exciting to be working with Booktime to help get picture books into as many young hands as possible and to encourage a love of reading from an early age.’
The Booktime programme has already given nearly two and a half million books to children since it was launched in 2006. Last year children received a copy of Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School by Ian Whybrow, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.
Booktime is inspired by the Bookstart free books programme for babies and toddlers, and is followed by Booked Up which gives Year 7 pupils (aged 11-12) the choice of a free book from a list of 12 selected titles to help develop independent reading.
Booktrust’s free books programmes aim to encourage reading for pleasure and are supported by the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families).
For further information on the Booktime programme contact Alice Ingall on email@example.com