Anna James and HarperCollins celebrate children’s literacy in Stoke-on-Trent with the launch of Connecting Stories

21 Jan 2021

Anna James

Publisher HarperCollins and one of their authors, Anna James, today announce Connecting Stories, a campaign to support children’s literacy in Stoke-on-Trent. Led by Stoke Reads from National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England, it will increase children and young people’s access to literary experiences and books.

Author Anna James will be championing reading and creative writing in the Stoke-on-Trent community, through virtual author visits into schools and launching an exciting creative writing competition, theme to be announced shortly. To further inspire the next generation of readers and writers, publisher HarperCollins UK will donate books to the area.

Children age 7 to 11 will be invited to take part in the creative writing competition and entries will be curated in one of 19 Connecting Stories anthologies and displayed in Stoke-on-Trent community’s cultural institutions.

Anna James, Author, says:

“I am delighted to be part of Connecting Stories. Working as a school librarian for five years showed me the transformative effect reading can have on a child’s confidence, improving their chances across their life. I hope this project helps lots of Stoke-on-Trent children fall in love with a literary world that will stay with them forever.”

Lois Bateman, Project Manager, Stoke Reads, says:

“The Connecting Stories initiative is a brilliant way to support wellbeing and improve the literacy skills of children across the city. Throughout this difficult time, we have seen the positive impact of community and connecting with others, with Stoke-on-Trent recently being voted the Kindest City in the UK. I’m really excited for this community-based project to support wellbeing in Stoke-On-Trent through engaging children in reading and creative writing.”

Sarah Crown, Director of Literature at Arts Council England, says:

“Connecting Stories is a brilliant, creative way of supporting children’s literacy in communities suffering disproportionately from the impact of COVID-19. The commitment of publishers big and small to helping children and young people connect with stories and the authors is hugely exciting, and will offer inspiration to children and families around the country, as well as a means of celebrating the unique communities and resources in local areas.

“Arts Council England is proud to support this work, and excited by the opportunities it offers, both now and in the future.”

Connecting Stories will be delivered across 14 local areas, and a total of 18 publishers and 32 children’s authors are involved.