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Every reception child in England is to receive a free book about a bear in a bee onesie, chosen by the charity BookTrust for its strong storytelling attributes, a relatable school setting and a clear message about inclusivity.
There are 700,000 copies of ‘The Bumblebear’, a tale about a bear who infiltrates ‘bee school’ on a honey stealing mission, being distributed for free in the Autumn, as part of the ‘Time to Read’ scheme being run by the BookTrust charity.
Andrea MacDonald, editorial director of Penguin Random House Children’s Picture Books said: “We are thrilled that Nadia Shireen’s The Bumblebear will be reaching so many children across the UK, and to be working with BookTrust to support this wonderful campaign.
“The book’s message of acceptance and forgiveness, and its joyful celebration of school life mean that it is perfect for children starting reception – and not only that but Nadia’s trademark humour and sense of fun make it a laugh-out-loud experience fit to inspire a lifelong love of reading.”
The ‘Time to Read’ campaign was launched in September 2016, and the aim has been to encourage parents and carers of reception-aged children to read with them on a regular basis, even if the child has already demonstrated reading ability at school.
The author of ‘The Bumblebear’, Nadia Shireen, originally worked in magazine journalism after studying for a law degree, but rediscovered her childhood love of doodling and drawing and did an MA course in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Her children’s books have earned her many awards and accolades, such as the Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima Award and the UKLA Book Award. ‘The Cow Who Fell to Earth’ is her most recent work.
Ms Shireen said of being selected for the campaign: “I am so happy and honoured that BookTrust have selected ‘The Bumblebear’ for their excellent ‘Time to Read’ campaign. BookTrust is fantastic at turning kids into readers and, crucially, they reach those kids who can't access books so easily.”
BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. They work to inspire a love of reading in children, reaching 2.5 million children across the UK with books, resources and support. Their books are delivered via libraries, schools and early year’s practitioners, and are supported with guidance, advice and resources to encourage the habit of reading.