Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Brilliant Books - Getting Young People Reading Again!

Kids don't read like they used to. 

That's a fact. 

Especially young boys. Many stop reading in the final year of primary school and never pick up a book again. 

My own son has read just three books in his life, despite being on his way to University. 

Like the rest of his friends, he loves PC games. 

And why not! So do I. But I still read.

So, why did my son stop reading?

"Coz reading's boring, Dad. What's the point?"

That's sad. It made me think.

I thought we should do something about it. It's become a bit of a passion for me. I want young people not only to read again, but to consider reading a fun thing to do!

Brilliant Books is funded by the National Lottery

So my friend Phil Pidluznyj and I set up Brilliant Books to do this very thing.

Funded by the National Lottery (where your £2 goes an awfully long way and you probably don't realise it), Brilliant Books is about getting young people reading again. 

Loving reading. To the point where it takes hold of their souls.

Its about showing young people that there IS a point to picking up a book.

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

Reading fiction has tremendous benefits. 

Imagination, creativity, innovation, and interaction are just four factors that researchers show are improved by reading fiction. 

That's stories, to you and I. Made-up stories. 

That quartet of great things does not include the benefits to literacy that exposure to reading books elicits. Individually and as a nation. 

A literate nation is a contented nation.

Surely its no coincidence that literacy levels in the UK are lower than they should be, and our young people don't read in the numbers they used to?

A collection of great books suggested by my friends here on Facebook in the summer - some of these will be featured on
Brilliant Books.
So what is Brilliant Books?

We're working with Seely Primary School in Sherwood, Nottingham. 

You can download a leaflet here.


A Simple Concept

Twenty one young children between 9-1o, including some skeptical and reluctant readers, will work on Brilliant Books for eight weeks. 

Two passionate BB support workers and a Seely Primary School teacher will work with the children.

Eight successful professionals, including a children's author, a music journalist, a scientist and robotics guru, a PR expert and a successful trainer of investment bankers, will visit the school over a period of eight weeks. 

They'll talk books. 

Their favourite books. 

They'll explain to the kids why they read. They will read extracts from their favourite books. They will interact with the young people and play games.

They will tell the kids what the point is - that they would not be where they are now without reading books. And lots of them.

Popular local MP Chris Leslie opens Brilliant Books today. 

We'll buy the school his choice of books and the kids can take them home. 

They'll read in small groups. Then they will work on their own short stories, poems, haikus, music reviews etc over a period of six weeks.

The Brilliant Books Anthology

At the end of six weeks, I'll take the kids work and turn it into a manuscript. They will decide the title.

Then I'm going to publish it - an anthology of the kid's work - in paperback. 

In the final week, parents, interested parties and the rest of us will get together and we'll present the books -  a lifelong memento of their time with us - in a huge celebration event.

There won't be a dry eye in the house.

How You Can Help

You can help us. 

If you're connected to a school (governor, parent), download a leaflet and pass it on. 

Share this blog on FB and Twitter. 

Send suggestions to the Comments Section of fantastic books that influenced YOU as a young person.

I'll post progress every week, on a Thursday.

Get behind us and help us help these young people to see that reading is important, influential and incredible fun.

Mark Barry
Anthology Editor


  1. This is terrific Mark and I'll share everywhere. I wish you all the best for the launch today and look forward to reading further posts. I know it's going to be a huge success for you all, it's such an inspirational thing to do - well done :-)

  2. As a retired primary school teacher and school librarian I think this sounds fantastic- it almost makes me want to go back to school!

  3. Well done, I have passed this on to my local primary school where I help listen to young readers.