Westgate shop owner on mission to provide more than 6,300 free books to children in 21 schools

The Classroom owner Adam Taylor gave away thousands of books

The owner of a Westgate education and children’s book shop is on a mission to give out more than 6,300 free books at 21 Thanet and Canterbury schools to mark World Book Day.

Adam Taylor, who runs The Classroom in Station Road, started on his big book giveaway last week and will be visiting more schools up until March 3.

Adam, who has a background of more than 24 years in education, says the aim is simply to ‘make a difference.’

The dad-of-two initially set a target of visiting 16 schools and handing out 4,000 books but says this has now expanded to 21 schools and a stock of 7,000 books to make sure he has some spares on hand.

He said: “There are around 400,000 children in the UK who do not own a book, that equates to one in 30 children so around one child in every class.

“Book tokens are handed out (for World Book Day) but many will be found in the bottom of a school bag or blowing around the playground, only a quarter get used and in Thanet, a deprived area, many are not used.

“So I am going to schools to hand out books, meaning they go right into the child’s hands. I have been doing assemblies, handing them out in libraries and running around classes with a trolley full of books.

“I will be giving away more than 6,300 books in the 21 schools. It should work out that 200 children that did not own a book at all will have one.”

Adam says being able to own even just that one book is incredibly important.

He said: “What really makes a difference is telling a child you care. It’s telling those children that do not have a book that you care about them and you want to give them that book and sometimes that’s just the spark you need.”

Schools to receive books from Adam include Foreland Fields, St Saviours, Drapers Mill, St Nicholas-at-Wade, St Crispin’s, Monkton, Birchington, Salmestone, Newlands, Dame Janet, Wellesley Haddon Dene, Ellington, Cliftonville and Bromstone.

The World Book Day charity says the cost of living is putting the biggest squeeze on family budgets in years and creating further barriers to reading for pleasure, with almost two thirds (64%) of parents saying they currently have less money to spend on books for their children than before.

The charity says the figure is now 500,000 children in England aged 8 – 18 who don’t own a single book. This rises to one in 10 (9.7%) for those eligible for Free School Meals. More than one in five (22.4%) pupils receiving free school meals said that the book they ‘bought’ with their World Book Day book token was the first book of their own.

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  1. Fantastic. Well done to the Classroom for taking the initiative. Not only will this encourage children to read but also help with their spelling and potentially become author’s themselves.

    • That would be amazing! We have some great local authors. They’re such an important part of the educational network. The more the merrier!

  2. Parents should be encouraged to take their children to the local library, and to look for children’s books in local charity shops.

    • We’ll make it to nearly 7,000 books. (There are about 10,500 primary-aged children in Thanet). I’ve asked the children to use their tokens to collect another book and to help me reach the other 3,000-4,000 children. Every book had a note listing the bookshops where they can find them (and the supermarkets).

  3. The children in the class I teach were among the many visited by Adam and they were beyond excited to get their very own book. Well done to The Classroom and Adam!

    • Nearly every single book was placed into the hands of the child.

      Not one Primary-aged child was given a copy of Being an Ally and a couple of schools requested not to have Boot It!

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