Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Morpurgo champions internet book club for children
Former children's laureate hopes link to technology will enthuse the book-shy
Alison Flood writing in the, Tuesday 18 August 200

'It's people helping themselves' ... Michael Morpurgo. Photograph: Felix Clay

Books and computers should not be seen as mutually exclusive, according to former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo.
"One of the great problems we have in this country is that we see books and computers as not mutually supportive but separate. I know of many, many schools with phenomenal computer suites that ignore their libraries," said Morpurgo, who has thrown his weight behind a new online initiative which he hopes will address this issue.
Believing that the best way to get children reading is to harness their enthusiasm for technology and link it to reading, Morpurgo is supporting the launch this summer of My School Book Club, a website that will, he hopes, enthuse technology-savvy but book-shy children. School libraries will also profit from the venture, which is an online version of the traditional magazine-based school book club. Parents and pupils can buy children's books through the site, and 20% of what they spend will be returned to their school to be spent on library books.

"All children's writers who've been around for a long time are asked to do these things all the time and you have to choose the ones with real legs, that are going to make a real difference," said Morpurgo, who is joined by fellow former laureate Jacqueline Wilson and Dear Zoo author Rod Campbell in championing the initiative. "It's been computers, computers, computers for the last 10 to 15 years so this seemed a way of marrying access to books with computers."

Read the rest at The Guardian online.

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