Published: 13:13, 06 May 2021
| Updated: 13:24, 06 May 2021
Children will be able to pick up free books from a supermarket thanks to its new book exchange scheme.
Morrisons is putting children's book swap stations in all of its stores as part of efforts to promote reading and literacy to youngsters and their families.
The scheme will be called Morrisons Little Library.
Customers will be encouraged to bring unwanted books with them to their nearest Morrisons store when they do their shopping which will be placed in the donation and exchange stations. Children, teenagers and their parents will then be able to pick up a book for free to take home and enjoy.
The Morrisons Little Library project was inspired by Canterbury-based children's writer Rebecca Smith, who approached Morrisons asking for help to tackle the issues surrounding children’s literacy including the struggle some families have in making books available at home.
She explained: “To think that there are children who have never enjoyed a bedtime story is heart-breaking. Stories change lives. Every child and every parent should have access to that experience. The Morrisons Little Library provides that potentially life-changing access.”
The supermarket chain says Little Library exchanges will be set up in all UK stores from this week.
David Potts, Morrisons CEO, said: “The past year has been extremely difficult for everyone and we want to help as much as we can. We know that our younger customers love reading but some may not have access to books of their own.
"That’s why we’re launching the Morrisons Little Library – so every child has the chance to enjoy reading and brighten their future.”
Research from The Open University has been used to shape the initiative whilst the National Literacy Trust recently reported that children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age but that one in 11 disadvantaged children don’t own a single story.
Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education Literacy at The Open University, added: “It’s been great working with Morrisons to help make the Little Library idea a reality.
"Reading benefits children and young people in so many ways and is especially vital after such a difficult and disruptive year, as it creates a safe space to escape and learn.”
Alongside the installation of the miniature children's libraries Morrisons has also created a new book of its own called Cedric The Seed and will be publishing 50,000 copies. The books will be distributed nationwide by Morrisons Community Champions to local community groups and schools to ensure they can reach the youngsters who would benefit from them most.
Inspired by the pandemic and how lives were changed in an instant, the book follows Cedric, a small sunflower seed as he is separated from his family and friends. His journey is full of unexpected adventure, friendship and fun as when Cedric begins to grow, he realises his friends and family were there all along.