easyJet launches children’s in-flight library service

In an initiative supported by the National Literacy Trust, easyJet is teaming up with Bloomsbury Children’s Books and Alma Books to put books including Kid Normal, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Dr Dolittle and The Secret Garden, in passenger seat-pockets to create the world’s largest in-flight holiday lending library.

The project is a response to new research showing reading is on the decline amongst British children, with almost four in ten parents (38%) saying that their child owned fewer than 10 books at home and over a fifth (22%) of parents saying their child had not visited a library in over a year

According to Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, “Books have the power to transform children’s lives, which is why it is so alarming that more than three-quarters of a million children in the UK don’t have a single book to call their own, and one in five haven’t been to a library in the past year. Getting books into the hands of children, and helping them discover a love of reading, can set them on the path to a more successful future. easyJet’s Flybrary initiative is a fantastic way of getting thousands of children into reading this summer.”

Tina Milton, director of Cabin Crew at easyJet said, “This summer we will fly approximately five million families across Europe on their summer holidays and our in-flight lending library is stocked with over 17,500 books ready for children to pick up, read and then leave behind for the next passenger. Reading is so important for fuelling a child’s development, vocabulary and imagination and a flight provides the perfect opportunity for them to get stuck into a book. We are passionate about creating family friendly initiatives that make flying with us fun and easier for parents.”

Campaign ambassadors and best-selling children’s authors Greg James and Chris Smith said, “One of the main reasons we wanted to write Kid Normal was to de-mystify the role of ‘the author’ as serious and impenetrable figures, and to show that reading and writing stories is not only one of the most amazing uses of your imagination but to show that it is something that is for everyone.

It’s an incredibly rewarding and fun activity and when easyJet told us their plans to get books into the hands of kids and to encourage them to write their own, we couldn’t have been more keen to get involved. Writing our series of books has been one of the most enjoyable things we’ve ever done and we want to encourage as many people as possible to give it a go.”

Nearly half of the children (42.5%) surveyed by the National Literacy Trust said that they rarely read outside of the classroom with three in ten (30%) admitting that they never pick up a book past school hours. The charity’s statistics also show that the average child (aged 8-18) spends just 26 minutes per day reading physical books.

Additionally, almost all respondents (94%) agreed that the breadth of electronic entertainment devices available today, has led to the decline in children reading for pleasure.

easyJet’s fleet of Flybraries will enable children to start reading books on a flight and then when they land download free samples of books at www.flybraries-bookclub.com – the website will also host the airline’s summer writing competition to help children spread their creative writing wings.

Written by: Alexander Preston

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