BookTrust selects The Runaway Pea for 2020 Time to Read campaign

Published on: 07 June 2020

Over 750,000 copies of Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore's hilarious picture book will be given out to reception children during the Autumn term

When school-starters open the door to the classroom for the first time, they will receive their very own copy of the hilarious picture book, The Runaway Pea from September onwards, as part of BookTrust’s annual Time to Read campaign.

The Runaway Pea, written by Kjartan Poskitt and illustrated by Alex Willmore (Simon & Schuster (UK)), is a fun story to read together, with lots of playful words in a lovely rhyming text. There are many things to talk about, from the detail in the pictures, to the range of emotions the pea experiences on his journey. And giggles are very much guaranteed.

BookTrust’s Time to Read campaign encourages families to make time to share stories and read together for fun even when children start to read independently. It targets children and families at the transition to primary school, as this is a time of new routines, habits and priorities and often learning to read can get prioritised over reading for fun. The book and resources provided are designed to help children continue their reading journey during this important phase of starting school.

Alex Willmore, illustrator said:

"Having The Runaway Pea selected for BookTrust’s Time to Read campaign is so wonderfully exciting. It is such an honour and so humbling to know that Kjartan's fantastically fun story and my drawings of veggies will be reaching so many people and to know that the characters I had so much fun drawing, will be the first books that some children own and will hopefully enjoy for many years to come. A huge thank you to the BookTrust for selecting this book that I'm so proud to have been a part of."

Diana Gerald, BookTrust’s Chief Executive said:

The Runaway Pea is a brilliant choice for Time to Read, it's colourful, clever and above all else, it’s fun to read. BookTrust knows from research that if children are having fun with a book, they're more likely to continue reading. We're delighted to be able to give each school starter their very own copy to take home and share with their families.”

Author Kjartan Poskitt commented:

“It's hard to believe The Runaway Pea has run so far! When I first wrote the book, the Pea only got to bounce around the kitchen. I'm so proud that he's bouncing all around the UK, from Dover to Derry and from Swansea to Shetland! The book has given me such fun, especially with Alex's pictures, so I'm really grateful to BookTrust for helping us share it with so many other people. BANG WHIZZ SPLATT ... watch out, he's coming your way!”

Every reception age child in England will receive The Runaway Pea at school in the Autumn. The book is delivered inside a special Time to Read pack that each child gets to keep and take home. Inside each pack is a message for families about the importance of shared reading, alongside practical tips and advice to help them bring the story to life at home. 

The second book, book The Runaway Pea Washed Away is published on 23 July 2020 and there will be even more adventures coming soon – so fans should keep their eyes pea-led!

Find our more about our Time to Read campaign

Download the press release (.pdf)


Time to Read

Time sharing stories is time well spent. We want parents and carers to keep reading to their child, even once they've reached primary school or started to read on their own.

If you read books together, it's a great way to bond, talk about the day, and have a lot of fun!

Find out more