Here's a lovely bit of outdoor furniture that ticks all the boxes. It's public, it's free, it's outside, and it encourages daydreaming...and reading.
The National Literacy Trust has launched its Books about Town project across London: 50 benches decorated by renowned artists, celebrating famous and much-loved authors. With so much bad news about the decline of publishing and loss of book stores, it's nice to see an event that promotes the real thing.
The benches will be located in four different parts of London. They are a lovely design: shaped like an open book. There is a painting by a well-known artist on the front and back as well which depicts the title of a well-known and loved book.
The books include Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll and many more. All of the chosen books have a London theme or link.
Not to ignore the digital world, each bench has its own web page, complete with Google map, details of the book and artist and activities. All of the benches will be auctioned off in the autumn for charity.
The good news is that children's literacy has increased for the first time in eight years in the UK.
A survey released by the Trust reveals that:
• More young people are reading outside class daily in 2013 than in 2012
• More young people think that reading is cool in 2013 than in the previous four years.
• Fewer children in 2013 say they would be embarrassed if their friends saw them read than in 2012
The bad news is that 4 children in 10 said they didn’t have a favourite book, and almost a third of children struggle to find things to read which interest them (but so do adults).