2022: A year in the life of BookTrust
Published on: 27 December 2022
It's been a busy year! Here, we look back at what BookTrust got up to in 2022...
As we emerged from the pandemic and began to understand how lockdowns had affected children's development, wellbeing and learning, we saw that reading and sharing stories could play a crucial role in their recovery from this disruption.
We continued to evolve how we work and give children and families who are struggling in some way more opportunities to read together, and we championed the life-changing impact that stories can have.
Here, we reflect on some of our biggest achievements over the year...
Supporting families to build long lasting habits from birth
Our Bookstart programme exists to help and motivate families to regularly read and share stories together from birth. This year - with Bookstart Baby, Bookstart Toddler and Bookstart Pre-Schooler - we reached over 800,000 families in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We were also delighted that more than 25,000 children took part in our Big Welsh Rhyme Time. Families across the country enjoyed English and Welsh language content including songs, rhymes and videos.
Engaging children at school
With author visits, Time to Read, Bookbuzz and School Library Pack, we continued to reach, inspire and engage with children at all ages, sparking their imagination and helping them to realise that reading isn't just something that you do at school.
We were especially pleased to launch a new partnership with Children's Books Ireland and give hundreds of children on both sides of the border the chance to experience stories that celebrate and reflect the rich diversity of modern-day Ireland.
'We often say that books act both as mirrors and windows, so that a child can see their own lived experiences reflected back to them as well as being able to step into another person's shoes and see things from their point of view. Not only are these books a joy to read, they can help to build up children's self worth and their ability to empathise with others.'
Elaina Ryan, Children's Books Ireland
More stories at BookTrust Storytime
Following the success of our BookTrust Storytime pilot in 2021, this year we expanded the pilot programme to encompass nearly 2,000 libraries and, following feedback from the first year, extended it from six weeks to six months.
Six wonderful children's books were selected by an expert panel to help encourage more families to discover and use their local library.
'My granddaughter feels really happy, she looks forward to it. Every morning she says to me, "Grandma, let's go Zoom Zoom". 'Zoom, Zoom, we're going to the moon', that's one of her favourite poems (songs), obviously she can't say library yet, but 'Zoom Zoom' means library to her. She wants to go to the 'Zoom Zoom' every day.'
Mrs Ahmed, grandmother
Shining a spotlight on representation
We released new BookTrust Represents research that showed the importance of all children being able to see themselves in the books they read and how this shapes how they view themselves and the world around them.
We found that representation and diversity in books is important for all children, not just those from an ethnic minority background, and is an important factor in children's motivations to read.
'I like in this book that it makes me feel happy when I read it. It makes me feel better when I read it and I can see something like me, and I can understand that is not only me like that.'
Primary School child
Championing the power of poetry and pictures
During 2022 we welcomed three much-loved writers to our fold. Joseph Coelho, the award-winning performance poet, playwright and children's author, was crowned Waterstones Children's Laureate for 2022-2024.
The acclaimed author Michael Rosen was our Writer in Residence from February to August and in September, much-loved illustrator and writer Nick Sharratt followed in his footsteps, becoming our Writer-Illustrator in Residence.
During his tenure, Joseph is celebrating the power of poetry, showcasing new authors and illustrators, inspiring bookmakers of the future and championing public libraries.
Michael used his time as Writer in Residence to promote the importance of reading and rhyming in the early years, while Nick is using his residency to celebrate the crucial role pictures and visual images play in enriching a child's experience when it comes to reading.
School libraries can change lives
With one in eight primary schools in England lacking a library, in 2020 Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell set out to understand and raise awareness of the difference that this resource can have on children's lives. This year we published the results of her Lifechanging Libraries initiative.
The project revealed an increase in a love of reading, motivation towards learning, wellbeing and feelings of self-worth in the six primary schools taking part. We are continuing to work with the Lifechanging Libraries to understand more about the role that they can play in supporting families to continue reading.
More brilliant books
We had yet another bumper year of brilliant books and stories. Hundreds of book reviews, themed booklists, the Great Books Guide, new Storytime books and HomeTime (our hub packed with games, drawalongs and videos) have helped capture the interest of and inspire thousands of children to choose to read during 2022.
We did this together
We are very grateful to the many organisations who have helped make our work possible this year – the local authorities, libraries, charities, early years settings, publishers and authors.
We couldn't have achieved what we have without our funders including Arts Council England, Welsh Government and Department for Education, Northern Ireland as well as the many trusts, corporate partners and individual donors who have supported our work over the past year.
There is much more to do, and our work has never been more needed. We need your support to make this happen.
If you believe in the power of books and reading and have been inspired by our work, please join us as a BookTrust Friend or give a one-off gift towards our Christmas appeal. Together we can make a world of difference