Author Michael Rosen takes children from Tower Hamlets on a ‘bear hunt’ through ZSL London Zoo to celebrate giveaway and anniversary
Photos © Alex Dimos 2019
Walker Books will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the perennial classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury with a massive giveaway of 10,000 large format editions of the book via various charitable organisations including the National Literacy Trust, Read for Good, The Reading Agency and the Siobhan Dowd Trust. With over 11 million copies sold worldwide and available in 42 languages, the story has stood the test of time to become a firm family favourite.
Research from the National Literacy Trust shows that when young children enjoy reading, share stories with their parents and have books of their own at home, they do better at school and go on to lead happier, healthier and more successful lives. But sadly, not every child is lucky enough to share the joy of reading.
Last year, 150,000 five-year-olds in England started primary school without the reading skills expected for their age and children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds will find it hardest to close this gap. But parents can play a vital role, as research shows that reading with your child for as little as 10 minutes a day can make a significant difference to a child’s achievement levels and help close this gap, so Walker and the National Literacy Trust will be gifting 10,000 free copies of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to children and families in the communities where they will have the biggest impact.
Author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen, celebrated the giveaway with an event at ZSL London Zoo with school children from Tower Hamlets, where levels of deprivation are widespread and where 1 in 4 (25%) five-year-olds started school last year without the reading skills they need to flourish. The pupils were treated to a performance from Michael Rosen as well as a talk from ZSL London Zoo’s Engagement Team followed by a real life “bear hunt” around ZSL London Zoo.
All children received a free anniversary edition of the book.
Karen Lotz, President and Publisher, Candlewick Press, and Group Managing Director of the Walker Books Groupsaid:
“At Walker we believe in the power of great storytelling and are truly saddened by the deep and lifelong inequality caused by the lack of access to books for children from deprived backgrounds. We hope that this giveaway of a true classic will help families across the country share in the joy of going on a bear hunt with their children and help to instil a true love of reading for life.”
Kerry Bailey, Community & Learning Manager at ZSL London Zoo explained:
“We were absolutely delighted to be part of the celebrations for this iconic book that brings together people and wildlife – something our own educational sessions strive to achieve here every day at ZSL London Zoo. It’s special events like this that offer children a unique learning opportunity, imagining the characters in the book, to then seeing them in real life – here at ZSL London Zoo. We want to connect schools and communities back with wildlife across the London boroughs both from inside and outside the Zoo.”
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, said:
“When children enjoy reading and have books of their own at home, it can transform their life chances. But 1 in 8 children from disadvantaged communities in the UK don’t have a single book of their own. We are thrilled to be working with Walker to give many children the first book they have ever owned and to inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime.”
For more information, interviews with Michael or more photographs from the event please contact Senior Publicity Manager Rosi Crawley on email@example.com
Over 18 million copies of Primary Times magazines are distributed every year through primary schools in 59 regions across the UK and Ireland.