“Fun is fundamental”: Michelle Robinson brings the fun of reading together to her role as BookTrust’s new Writer in Residence
Published on: 10 September 2023
Award-winning author Michelle Robinson has today (Monday 11th September) been announced as the new Writer in Residence at BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. She follows in the footsteps of some of the best loved children's authors and illustrators in the country including Michael Rosen, Cressida Cowell, Nick Sharratt and SF Said.
Robinson’s core mission during her residency with BookTrust is to encourage children and grown-ups to “have fun reading together”. For the next six months, she will produce tips and activities for experiencing the pure joy of sharing picture books together. She will offer practical suggestions for making shared reading feel like something to look forward to, as an exciting opportunity to connect, laugh and make memories.
Michelle Robinson is the author of best-selling picture books that are perfect for sharing and reading aloud, including The World Made a Rainbow, She Rex, There's a Lion in my Cornflakes and the Goodnight Spaceman series. She has won several awards, including the Lollies Laugh Out Loud Book Awards in 2020.
Robinson’s books have been featured in BookTrust’s work in the heart of communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to engage families with the life-changing benefits that can come from regularly sharing stories together – including 1,2,3, Do the Dinosaur (illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw) and Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry (illustrated by Jez Tuya). The energy, rhythm and enticing concepts of Robinson’s picture books make them a powerful tool for sparking interest and enthusiasm for sharing stories – supporting BookTrust’s mission to getting every child reading regularly and by choice.
Research shows that when adults read with children, it has a powerful effect. When a child sees an adult getting involved and enjoying a story, they enjoy it too. Interactive reading helps relationships form, and supports children’s language and cognitive development, yielding benefits from as early as two weeks.
This is why over the past year, BookTrust has distributed more than half a million of its Bookstart Baby packs to children during their first year, and partnered with early years settings across the country to support more than 340,000 low-income families with children aged 1-4 with its Bookstart Toddler and Bookstart Preschooler packs of expertly selected books, resources and activities which inspire families to share stories together.
Michelle Robinson says: “I still remember how wonderful it felt to be read to as a child. Any worries or stresses were put away when a grown-up found five minutes to sit still, pick up a book and read me a story. I felt safe, loved and relaxed, because the books we shared made us laugh, together.
“I’m thrilled to be BookTrust’s Writer in Residence. I come from a low-income background so BookTrust's mission really strikes a chord with me. I'm living proof that books, libraries and the nurturing of literacy skills at an early age can take even the most unlikely child a very long way."
“I’ll be sharing tips and practical demos on how to make reading fun – for children and grown-ups. I hope you'll enjoy my ideas and that you have fun creating some happy reading memories of your own!”
Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, continues:
“We’re delighted Michelle will use her time as BookTrust’s Writer in Residence to raise awareness of how much fun reading together can be! Sharing stories with children during their early years is vital for supporting a love of stories, parent-child bonding and early language development. Michelle has a personal connection to BookTrust’s mission and is committed to helping all children get the most out of reading. We hope children and adults enjoy her ideas for making story time memorable and fun.”
The BookTrust Writer in Residence project has been running since March 2009 and has featured several authors and illustrators including Cressida Cowell, Sita Brahmachari, Patrick Ness, Polly Dunbar, Bali Rai, Matt Haig, Laura Dockrill, Chris Riddell, Nicola Davies, Cerrie Burnell, Sarah McIntyre, Philip Ardagh, Taran Matharu, Nadia Shireen, Candy Gourlay, Phil Earle, Ed Vere, Smriti Halls, Onjali Q Raúf, Dapo Adeola, Michael Rosen, Nick Sharratt and SF Said.
Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 17 titles.