EasyJet to put free classic children's books on flights in bid to get more kids reading

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Classic children’s books will be slipped into the seat pockets of easyJet planes to create flying libraries encouraging youngsters to read on holiday.

The easyJet Book Club, which launches tomorrow, will put 7,000 paperbacks on 147 flights.

It is being backed by Dame Jacqueline Wilson, the award-winning former children’s laureate and campaigner for child literacy.

Dame Jacqueline selected copies for the planes “encompassing the spirit of travel and adventure” that include Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Railway Children, The Wizard Of Oz, The Borrowers and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

The idea of the “lending libraries in the sky” is for children to get hooked reading a couple of chapters on the plane, but the book must be returned on landing for the next young reader.

Ten books will available, though readers have to take pot luck and can swap with their neighbours.

The airline released research showing 83 per cent of 2,000 British parents said their children read less than when they were the same age due to the lure of smartphones and tablets.

Dame Jacqueline, author of the acclaimed Tracy Beaker series, said: “I think it’s a wonderful idea if we can try and encourage children to feel that no matter what they do the rest of the time, maybe summer holidays are a time when you lose yourself in a book.

“It’s really important for children to associate books with pleasure, not just something that you have to plod through at school and get tested on.”

Dame Jacqueline also encouraged families to read aloud for fun on holiday, adding that she thought it was “good for children to get to grips with the  classics”, which is why favourites such as Wind In The Willows are included on her easyJet Book Club list.

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