Boosting reading by gifting 25,000 books to children across the UK
We joined forces with Enterprise Rent-A-Car for the second consecutive year which this week saw every year 5 and 6 pupil at 335 schools in 20 towns and cities across the UK receive a free copy of Sir Lenny Henry’s first novel, The Boy With Wings.
Our research shows that reading for pleasure is linked to better attainment at school, higher lifetime earning potential and better mental health. And yet, despite the clear benefits of reading our research found that almost one in five (18.6%) children in England between the ages of five and eight do not have access to books at home. This far-reaching book gifting initiative aims to boost rates of reading for pleasure across the country.
The programme was made possible by a donation from Enterprise’s ROAD Forward, a $55 million fund from the philanthropic Enterprise Holdings Foundation to support social and racial equity projects across the world.
Additionally, as part of this programme we produced video resources and lesson plans featuring CBeebies star Joanna Adeyinka-Burford and Matilda The Musical actress Sienna Clarke to enable schools to delve deeper into the themes of diversity and inclusion that feature in The Boy With Wings.
Our research found that 40% of children and young people from ethnic minority backgrounds say that they don’t see themselves in what they read. Sir Lenny Henry said he wrote The Boy With Wings because he didn’t see Black heroes in the books he read growing up, and wants all children to see themselves appear centre stage in exciting, inspiring stories. This book portrays important messages about race, inclusion and diversity wrapped up in an exciting and fun adventure.
"I want to make sure as many kids as possible have access to books and this project brilliantly targets those kids who don’t have books at home. Reading – with lots of trips to my local library in Dudley – was such an important part of my childhood, it took me on so many different adventures and to so many different worlds. Here’s to The Boy With Wings flying into homes across the UK thanks to the National Literacy Trust and Enterprise!"Sir Lenny Henry
- The Boy With Wings is written by Sir Lenny Henry, illustrated by Keenon Ferrell and published by Macmillan Children’s Books. It includes an exclusive comic book created by Marvel artist, Mark Buckingham.
- The Enterprise Holdings Foundation was established in 1982 to give back to the communities where partners and employees live and work.
- The towns and cities receiving books from the partnership are: Liverpool, Manchester (City), Nottingham, Rochdale, Salford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Newport, Swindon, London borough of Southwark, London borough of Lambeth, London borough of Hackney, London borough of Enfield, London borough of Islington, Belfast and Lisburn.