Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell launches new BookTrust Home Time hub for families

Published on: 23 March 2020

Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell has launched BookTrust Home Time - a hub of activities and resources for families.

Cressida Cowell in her writing shed

The digital hub includes free online books, videos, games, recipes, competitions, quizzes and other activities to keep families and children entertained while they're at home.

Top authors and illustrators will be contributing activities and content to the hub, all to keep children reading while they're home from school.

The hub also includes a list of activities being carried out by authors and illustrators on social media, including live drawalongs, readings and web chats. 

BookTrust's Illustrator in Residence Ed Vere will be among the stars providing fun videos, while Cowell will be reading her hit book How To Train Your Dragon chapter-by-chapter and suggesting activities for children to try.

'As of today, millions of children and their parents will be unexpectedly at home following the closure of schools across the country,' she said.

'I'm a parent myself and I really empathise with families and schools facing this unsettling time in the education of so many young people, as well as the challenges of trying to juggle work and home-schooling.'

'I began writing about Vikings and dragons when I was nine years old, feeling bored on my summer holiday with seemingly nothing to do. Every child out there will have fantastic ideas which could one day be the next How to Train Your Dragon. There is a world of creativity and imagination to discover from home that will bring inspiration over the coming weeks.

'The wonderful community of children's authors and illustrators has responded to the closure of schools by creating a huge selection of ideas and activities for children, parents and carers to share together – hosted on BookTrust Home Time.

'Starting on Monday, from my shed, I will be sharing a series of videos including readings – from my own books, and from others – as well as drawing advice, giving some tips on creativity as well as setting a few challenges along the way. I will also be live streaming to answer questions, run drawalongs and read, beginning with a daily reading of the very first How to Train Your Dragon, as I have always found adventure, hope and kindness in Hiccup's world. You can follow the story using #MagicIdeas.

'Books, reading and creativity are magic, and we need magic more than ever during this unsettling time.'

Meanwhile, BookTrust's CEO Diana Gerald said: 'Families across the country are adjusting to a temporary new way of living and BookTrust are here to support and build morale in the best way we know how – reading for fun!

'We are proud to be able to host a free content hub to share resources, ideas and interactive activities from our own experts, along with some of the UK's most loved authors and illustrators, with families across the country.

'At BookTrust we want to get more children reading and despite these challenging times, time at home with family is a great opportunity to find inspiration in books, create fantastic new habits and perhaps uncover a new passion!'

Families can find BookTrust Home Time at booktrust.org.uk/hometime, as well as following along on social media at #BookTrustHomeTime.

The hub comes as part of #UnitedByBooks, a joint initiative with Scottish BookTrust, Coram Beanstalk and Authorfy to encourage children to keep reading at home.

Go to BookTrust Home Time

Download the full press release

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