In September, the government will pay as little as £2.78 million to fund the scheme run by Booktrust who intend to give every 11-year-old child a book of their choice from a list of twelve.
There are no (overly) familiar names here, no JK Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson or Philip Pullman because the intention is to get children reading something else. It can only be a good thing. Though it could be argued that less interference by government, allowing teachers to teach well so that children discover for themselves the joy of reading would negate the need for this scheme, only one rag – The Telegraph – has seen fit to complain that there aren’t enough ‘famous names’ on the list. Perhaps there are fewer of these names because the list was put together “by a panel of experts, including booksellers, librarians, teachers and journalists, and aims to represent a diverse mix of levels and styles.”
There are two useful articles from The Guardian website to give more background information: Michelle Pauli announcing the news, Free book plan to keep children reading and a blog article by Josh Lacey, Free books for all.
Here, however, is the list in full (with links to the samedaybooks site):
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman
A Dog Called Grk by Joshua Doder
Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
Dream On by Bali Rai
Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Evil Inventions – Horrible Science by Nick Arnold, illustrated by Tony De Saulles
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Unbelievable! by Paul Jennings
The Ring of Words An Anthology of Poetry for Children selected by Roger McGough, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura