Morrisons has launched the Morrisons Little Library, a book donation and exchange station for children located across its stores.
The scheme aims to promote reading and literacy in children, particularly those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Morrisons Little Library was inspired by Canterbury-based children’s author, Rebecca Smith, who approached Morrisons asking for help to tackle the issues surrounding children’s literacy and the lack of availability of books at home.
“To think that there are children who have never enjoyed a bedtime story is heart-breaking,” Smith said.
“Stories change lives.
“Every child and every parent should have access to that experience. The Morrisons Little Library provides that potentially life-changing access.”
The exchanges will be set up in Morrisons stores from this week, allowing customers to donate unwanted books. In turn, all children, teenagers and parents can pick up a book for free.
Books will also be donated through the initiative to local schools and community groups, via the Morrisons Community Champions scheme.
“The past year has been extremely difficult for everyone and we want to help as much as we can,” Morrisons chief executive David Potts said.
“We know that our younger customers love reading but some may not have access to books of their own.
“That’s why we’re launching the Morrisons Little Library – so every child has the chance to enjoy reading and brighten their future.”
Research from The Open University showed that reading books helps children to start conversations, spark imagination and support emotional wellbeing.
The National Literacy Trust reported that children who own books are six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age, but one in 11 disadvantaged children don’t own a single book.
“It’s been great working with Morrisons to help make the Little Library idea a reality,” Open University education professor Teresa Cremin said.
“Reading benefits children and young people in so many ways and is especially vital after such a difficult and disruptive year, as it creates a safe space to escape and learn.”
To continue to support children’s literacy, Morrisons has created a new book titled Cedric The Seed and is set to publish 50,000 copies.
The book will be distributed nationwide by Morrisons Community Champions to local community groups and schools to ensure they are reaching those who need them most.