Life-changing Libraries

‘Life-changing Libraries’ is Cressida Cowell’s flagship project as the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Over the course of a year, six primary schools across England will be helped to develop a reading for pleasure culture, with the support of BookTrust and Cressida. This page will tell you everything you need to know about the campaign for life-changing libraries and Cressida Cowell’s call for the government to fund primary school libraries so all children across the country don’t miss out on the opportunity to read for pleasure and all the vital benefits this chance brings.

The Life-changing Libraries campaign report

The key findings in the ‘Life-changing Libraries’ report describe a transformation in attitudes towards reading, with an enthusiasm and passion for books ignited amongst the students of the six pilot schools and a considerable uptake in the time spent engaged in reading for pleasure both at school and at home.

Download the Life-changing Libraries report

Millions of children - particularly those from the poorest communities - are missing out on the opportunity to read for pleasure, and all the vital benefits this chance brings. The project is inspired by Cressida’s twenty-year experience visiting schools across the UK, where 1 in 8 primary schools has no library space at all,  and grounded in the most recent research into the benefits of reading for pleasure and the challenging financial reality facing primary school libraries.

"We believe that this project will have a significant impact on the lives of the whole school community. It will allow us to immerse our children and families in the enjoyment and escapism that reading can bring."
- Julie Davies, Deputy Head Teacher of Woodchurch CE Primary School


The top 1,000 books for Primary Schools

At BookTrust, we want to get children excited about books, stories and rhymes - because if reading is fun, children will want to do it. As part of the Life-changing Libraries campaign, the six schools have received a specially curated booklist of 1,000 titles chosen by BookTrust’s expert team and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, with guidance from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.

This is our list of the 1,000 best books to stock in a primary school library, broken down into Key Stages. These titles have been chosen to entertain, inform and inspire children into a life-long journey with reading.

Download the list of 1,000 books

Share your reviews

To go with the book list, we have review displays specially designed by Cressida Cowell for the pupils and staff to use to recommend their favourite book in the library!

Download and print out the review displays

With special thanks to all the publishers that kindly donated books to the Life-changing Libraries campaign.

Tips and advice


With thanks to our supporters