Supporters of Read for Good
National Book Tokens is proud to support Read for Good, a national charity with the mission to encourage all children in the UK to read for fun – because reading for pleasure is nothing short of life-changing. Children who read for pleasure are more likely to do well in school, have better paying jobs, and enjoy better health and wellbeing.
What's more, reading for pleasure is likely to play a vital role in helping our nation's children recover from the as-yet-unquantified impact that Covid-19 has had on their education, their social development, mental health and overall well-being.
Read for Good's sponsored Readathon in schools motivates children to read as much as they can, and the money raised helps to buy new books and storytelling sessions for children in hospitals all over the UK. Combined with free resources for teachers, brand new books for the school library, and National Book Tokens to reward pupils, Readathon offers schools a complete package for children needing to develop a positive reading habit.
The support of National Book Tokens helps Read for Good’s unique service reach seriously ill children in all of the UK's major children's hospitals. Each has a specially designed mobile bookcase which is refilled with brand new books every six weeks, enabling children in an infection-controlled environment to choose their own brand new books, from much-loved classics to the latest award winning titles. Plus, Read for Good’s professional storytellers offer much-needed therapeutic entertainment to children and their exhausted families in hospital.
In a normal year Read for Good gifts over 27,000 new books and delivers at least 224 storytelling days, directly reaching at least 150,000 children aged 0–18 in all 30 major UK children’s hospitals.
Read for Good's BBC Radio 4 Appeal
This February, Read for Good broadcast its first ever BBC Radio 4 Appeal to raise much-needed funds to provide books and storytellers for children in hospital, who continue to be especially isolated by the pandemic.
Hannah Beynon presented the appeal on behalf of Read for Good and shared the moving story of how Read for Good’s books and storytelling sessions helped her teenage son, William, process a cancer diagnosis and cope with ongoing treatment during months in hospital. As long-standing supporters of Read for Good, National Book Tokens and The Booksellers Association added weight to the campaign by jointly match-funding all donations up to £15,000.
The appeal raised an astonishing £58,011 in total. Thank you to all our customers who supported, by donating or spreading the word to family and friends!
The money raised by the appeal will help Read for Good continue its service in each of the 30 UK’s major children’s hospitals, filling its bright orange, mobile bookcases with brand new books and providing resident storytelling sessions throughout the year. Book deliveries have continued throughout the pandemic, and storyteller sessions have become virtual while Covid restrictions continue in hospitals.
Listen to the appeal by visiting the Read for Good website.
Listen to the appeal
The impact of Covid-19 on children in hospital - and Read for Good's service in hospitals
Children in hospitals are superheroes at the best of times but the pandemic has posed an even greater challenge for children and their families requiring hospital admissions and outpatient appointments. The anxiety, loneliness, distress, and fear that is often felt during 'normal' times has only been heightened during the pandemic.
While our storytelling sessions are on pause due to the restrictions placed on us by Covid-19, we are hopeful that we might deliver storytellers to hospitals from autumn 2021, and are currently running digital storytelling sessions via Zoom in some hospitals. We hope to resume our much-needed service as soon as possible, and here's why:
Ezekiel and his mum Amy are both very passionate about how much joy the Read for Good books have brought Ezekiel during his extensive time in hospital. Ezekiel has been entirely tube fed since he was 10 months old due to multiple allergies which also mean he has to have an operation at least every 9 months to replace the tube feeding devices. The arrival of the Read for Good Bookcase has given Ezekiel something to look forward to during long stretches in hospital; he has recently been diagnosed as dyslexic but is surprising everyone with his gusto for reading which Amy puts down to the positive relationship with books he has developed in hospital.
Amy says, "Being in hospital as a planned or emergency admission can be a tricky time for any
child... Fortunately many children in our local children’s hospital get to experience a very special visitor who doesn’t come into the ward with a trolley full of medical equipment but a trolley that is filled with a vast array of books... It’s when that visitor comes into the room that we have experienced some of the biggest and happiest moments in the hospital.
Thanks to the Read for Good scheme Ezekiel has had multiple visits and enjoyed lots of
books during his numerous stays. When the orange trolley arrives Ezekiel can’t help but find his huge smile regardless of how he is feeling. He absolutely loves the books on that trolley, the hard part is choosing which one he likes the best! This book then becomes a connection to him, between his admission, his achievement of getting through another operation, taking the book home to share with his brothers and into school to share with his class on his return.
As parents it’s so lovely to have any visitor to come and see your child when they are in hospital. The days are long and the nights are longer for children and parents but Read for Good bring a little bit of sunshine (and company) for a few moments of a hospital stay. The impact lasts a lifetime for these children I’m sure!"
12-year-old Ella and her family were shocked to be called back to hospital after routine blood tests showed abnormal results. Jo, Ella's mum, told us: "We were referred to our local hospital in Plymouth, and then quickly sent on again to Bristol Children’s Hospital as doctors’ concerns escalated - Ella had an enlarged goiter, a damaged thyroid and an abnormal nodule. After an anxious wait three weeks later, they decided to operate. This was a very worrying time for us all. We had a pre-op just before Christmas. However we had to wait for the operation, making Christmas not as enjoyable as it should have been; poor Ella knew the operation was looming and what it involved.
When we checked in for the ‘big op’ Ella knew that as she was 12 she would be one of the last to go in. We had been sitting in her room trying to keep Ella busy for hours when in came Wilf, the lovely Read for Good storyteller and a bookcase full of books for Ella to look through and pick one to keep. It was perfect timing as the nerves were kicking in further. Ella wasn’t sure which book to pick so Wilf helped her whilst also trying to relieve some of the anxiety. It was such a lovely surprise and completely distracted us for half an hour and just as he left we were taken to theatre.
I think it’s such a lovely thing to do, anxiety is something we try to control but in situations such as Ella’s it really was the most welcome distraction and so lovely to be given a brand new book so thank you.
I am also able to say that after a very long three weeks we received the all clear and it was benign, the best gift we could ever be given - and Ella really did enjoy the book!"
Primrose was in and out of Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London since she was four weeks old, and has spent much of her young life in hospital due to a very rare genetic condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B), that affects one in six million children/people. She has bravely endured five surgeries including two major bowel operations and a thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer.
At 15 months old, after a bout of gastroenteritis in June 2021, Primrose was once again admitted to Nottingham’s QMC. On her 100th night at QMC, Primrose received The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Hide and Seek book from Read for Good. Ellen, Primrose's mum, said:
“The book was so very appreciated. The range of toys and books on the wards has reduced hugely during Covid times. It’s hard to keep a toddler entertained here, and so having a new book felt like such a luxury. It was a lift-the-flap book and was very bright so she enjoyed it. Primrose has various soft toy animals to let us practise our animal sounds with!
“She’s a very brave little girl and more than just one in six million!”
To help us get more children reading for pleasure in school, and to brighten the days of children in hospital, why not ask a teacher or librarian at your school to sign up for a free sponsored read kit at readforgood.org.