Book clubs are an excellent way for improving child development, as well as a great way to access new diverse audiences and to achieve improved title visibility. In recent years we have seen a huge increase in initiatives across the US and the UK to provide children access to books at different stages of their development.
As Barack Obama said, ‘Reading is the gateway for children that makes all other learning possible’. Reading is not only essential for a child’s early development but also for shaping their future prospects and enhancing their overall quality of life. However, books are not something that every child has access to. Many celebrities and publishers recognise this and are taking action to provide children with their own books and inspiring them to cultivate a love for reading.
There are five US book clubs that have been nominated as the best for kids in 2023. These include: Bookroo, Literati, OwlCrate JR, Little Fun Club, and The Book Drop. All of these programs ship different numbers and genres of books to children of different ages.
This is beneficial as it maintains the children’s interest in reading and provides them with a wide range of ideas and literacy skills. Additionally, it benefits the associated publishers by increasing their title visibility and providing a great opportunity for a range of book promotions.
The unequal access to literature has prompted various initiatives to mitigate its negative impacts. Charities collect book donations to distribute them to children in need, making a significant impact on literature and early education worldwide.
For instance, the National Centre for Families Learning introduces literature to children and other generations, strengthening family bonds, improving school attendance, and enhancing parent’s employability. Their efforts have benefitted over 2 million families in the US.
Project Night Night focuses on homeless children up to age 12, providing them with ‘Night Night’ packages containing a security blanket, a new book, and a stuffed animal. These provisions aim to reduce trauma and enhance the children’s psychological well-being. Around 25,000 of these packages are delivered annually.
These charities, along with many others, emphasise the importance of early age reading and the numerous benefits it brings. Reading improves education, fosters creativity, and offers solace in challenging or unstable circumstances.
These charities would not be able to carry out their indispensable work without the donations and support from others. There are many notable celebrities who understand the importance of this, and in partnering with publishers they have set up their own means to contribute to the cause.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program which was set up in 1995 for the children within her home country. Thanks to Supadu customer, Penguin Random House, high-quality books are mailed to children every month from when they are born until they are five years old. This program rapidly grew and soon expanded elsewhere. Dolly was inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, and as of 2022, 2 million books are being mailed every month globally. Several studies have found that ‘Parton’s Imagination Library improves kindergarten readiness and family literacy habits, especially for children in high poverty areas.’ Not only did Penguin Random House manage to gain a long term partnership with this program, but they also managed to increase the social well being of everyone who received their books.
Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner also decided to raise money for several charities by starting an Instagram live initiative. This initiative was called Save with stories and it consisted of celebrities reading bedtime stories into the camera so that children across the world could watch and hear them. These celebrities also appealed for donations to be made to Save the Children which is a charity that further supports children affected by conflict, covid and climate crises. In 2020 the show had over 120,000 followers with videos of over 27 million views. These videos were ‘perfect for firing up kids’ imaginations as well as giving the adults a bit of a break ’ whilst also benefiting publishers by showcasing their books. This initiative was particularly excellent for families who could not afford books as they now had another way of introducing their children to literature and expanding their minds.
Marcus Rashford, the England and Manchester United football player, launched his book club in 2020 to promote reading among children from low-income backgrounds. Having discovered the joy of reading late in his own life, Rashford aims to provide children with learning opportunities he missed. This summer, the book club features “The Breakfast Club of Adventures: The Ghoul in the School” with Macmillan Children’s Books donating over 50,000 copies to participating schools. The club includes classroom resources to engage and inspire young readers. Rashford’s initiative highlights his commitment to nurturing a love of reading and empowering children through literature.
These initiatives highlight the transformative power of publishers and the books that they work with. By leveraging their influence and resources, celebrities have amplified the message that reading is a gateway to a brighter future for children worldwide. Their efforts have not only encouraged a love for reading but have also provided disadvantaged children with access to books and the opportunities that come with them. Through the collaborative efforts of celebrities, publishers, charitable donations, and communities we can continue to nurture a generation of lifelong readers and empower children to reach their full potential. Publishers too can benefit from improved discoverability and access to new D2C audiences!