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News story

More than 5,000 children in Bradford don’t own a single book

02 Dec 2019

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We published new research for Christmas which reveals that 5,360 children in Bradford don’t have a single book of their own. These children are missing out on the vital benefits of book ownership for their reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing.

Our survey of 56,906 UK children and young people aged 9-18 and found that, compared to children who don’t have a book of the own, children who own books are:

  • Almost six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age (22% vs 4%)
  • Over three times more likely to enjoy reading (56% vs 18%)
  • More than twice as likely to agree that reading is cool (43% vs 17%)

This builds on previous research we have completed that found children who own books are also more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who don’t own books.

In the past year, Bradford Stories has gifted 4,200 new books to children and young people in the city. However, we want to help close the gap in book ownership once and for all and we are calling on the public to give the gift of reading this Christmas.

Books have the power to transform children’s reading skills, enjoyment and mental wellbeing. We’re really proud to be taking steps to get books into the hands of children who need them most but it’s really important that we keep working to close the gap for good.

Imran Hafeez, Bradford Stories Manager

For those wanting to gift a book to a child in their life this Christmas, we have published our Ultimate Christmas book list – an advent calendar of children’s books chosen by 24 leading authors and illustrators who have each recommended a book that they personally love and wish a child could unwrap this Christmas. The list includes recommendations from Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, Nadiya Hussain and Dermot O’Leary.

One book a day from the list will be shared on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) throughout advent. You can also access the full list on our website.

Residents in Bradford can help us give the gift of reading to disadvantaged children in the city this Christmas by:

  • Texting 'GIFTOFREADING 7' to 70490 to donate £7 (this costs £7 + a standard message rate)
  • Ordering Christmas cards designed by children, judged by children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt. The winning designs are available to buy as printed cards or ecards.

For more information on the Bradford Stories and ways to give the gift of reading, visit

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