Her Royal Highness’s Bookshelves

National Literacy Trust event at Clarence House in honour of HRH Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th Birthday

Charities gift 70 children’s books to 70 schools in celebration of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th birthday.

David Walliams and Lauren Child were among authors to celebrate with The Duchess at Clarence House, on Tuesday 11th July 2017.

Literacy-focused charities and organisations have celebrated Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s upcoming 70th birthday by giving 70 primary schools across the UK a set of 70 children’s books and specially designed bookshelves.

The Duchess is Patron of the six organisations involved – the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate* and the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The 70 schools selected to receive the books have all shown they are committed to promoting reading for enjoyment, and many are in disadvantaged areas of the UK.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a set of the 70 books on the special ‘Duchess’s Bookshelves’ during a garden party at Clarence House this morning (11 July). Pupils from Hemlington Hall Academy in Middlesbrough and Berkeley Primary School in Hounslow joined the celebrations, as well as top children’s authors Malorie Blackman, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell, Charlie Higson, David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson.

Primary school children and authors travelled to Clarence House in style on a vintage bus, where David Walliams took on the role of bus conductor in a 1950’s uniform. As they joined the party, the children presented the bookshelves and talked to HRH about their favourite books. Guests also enjoyed storytelling with the authors in the gardens of the royal residence.

The 70 titles for the Duchess’s Bookshelves were chosen after primary schools across the country nominated the books they love and would like to give as a present. The list includes a wide a range to suit all ages and interests – from classics like A Bear Called Paddington and Matilda to new titles including Gangsta Granny and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Many of the books are included in key sponsor Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader programme, which tests pupils’ reading comprehension with fun, motivational quizzes. The books and specially-designed bookshelves were kindly donated by Peters.

*HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was Patron of Roald Dahl 100, the celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl in 2016.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust:

“Our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is passionate about children’s literacy, so what better way to celebrate this milestone birthday than by helping more children to discover the joys of reading with a special set of books. We hope pupils at the 70 schools who receive the bookshelves will be inspired to enjoy reading and read more widely, which our research shows has a significant impact on their attainment.”

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk:

“We’re delighted that so many children will discover the magic of reading thanks to these wonderful bookshelves that are being donated to schools across the country. We cannot think of a better gift in honour of our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s birthday than the gift of reading.”

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust:

“HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been such a tremendous advocate for children’s reading, and we can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate her birthday. These wonderful books will reach children who need them most, and will be such a great way to get pupils at the seventy selected schools excited about stories and reading. We know that children who enjoy reading are much more likely to read and benefit from the incredible advantages that reading brings, from education attainment to confidence, well-being, empathy and knowledge. We are incredibly proud to have HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, a passionate reading and literacy champion, as our Patron, and we wish her a very happy birthday.”

Mónica Parle, Executive Director of First Story:

“First Story are delighted to partner with the National Literacy Trust and other literacy charities to celebrate Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th birthday through this inspirational project, which will benefit so many primary school students across the country through the addition of 70 titles to their school libraries.”

Dirk Foch, Managing Director of Renaissance UK:

“As a long-time support of the National Literacy Trust, we’re delighted to be a key sponsor of this wonderful celebration of not only The Duchess’s birthday, but also the wonderful diversity of children’s literature. The celebration of reading and importance of reading pleasure is at the heart of Renaissance Accelerated Reader, which has been shown in studies from the National Literacy Trust and Education Endowment Foundation to improve attitudes towards reading and reading ability. It is therefore pleasing to know that so many of the nominated titles have been quizzed for the programme.”

Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson:

“We are delighted to help celebrate HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s birthday and her passion for children’s literacy with this gift of 70 children’s books to 70 thoroughly deserving schools throughout the UK.”

Claire Bowles, Head of Sales & Marketing at Peters UK:

“Peters are delighted and honoured to have been asked to design and produce the bookshelves for the 70 schools as part of the celebration of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th birthday. We hope children all over the country will be inspired and excited to pick up a book from this new collection.”

Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked UK:
“The Wicked Young Writer Awards are honoured to have HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as its Patron. Her passionate commitment for young people’s literacy and writing in this country has been a huge inspiration to all of us and we are delighted to support this very special celebratory project to give books to schools.”


About the partners:

The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that gives disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to gain employment and to succeed in life.  http://www.literacytrust.org.uk

Beanstalk is a national charity whose trained volunteers provide one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence. http://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. We transform lives by getting children and families reading; each year we reach 2.5 million children across the UK with books, resources and support. http://www.booktrust.org.uk

First Story brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities to work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills. http://www.firststory.org.uk


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