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Charity to gift books through food banks this Christmas as demand increases

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives with reading and writing, has today announced that it will gift books to children and families visiting food banks this winter, for the third year.

The need for food banks has continued to grow in Scotland, rising 30% between April 2022 and March this year, compared to the same period in 2021–22 [1]. New data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that over a million people in Scotland are living in poverty, around a quarter of whom are children [2].

Marking its 25th anniversary this year, Scottish Book Trust works to tackle inequality and break the poverty cycle through access to books and reading. Since 2020, Scottish Book Trust has distributed over 290,000 books to children and families in need through food banks, community hubs and other charities across Scotland.

Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Macmillan Children’s Books have given the charity kind permission to use illustrations from The Gruffalo’s Child to help support and raise awareness of the charity’s Christmas appeal.

Julia Donaldson said: ‘Scottish Book Trust has been doing great work for 25 years supporting children with literacy and improving access to books. The charity has just beaten the Gruffalo by one year, as he is going to be 25 next year. In fact, the Gruffalo’s origins go back to when I first tried the story out in various primary schools in Scotland, under the wing of Scottish Book Trust. I have continued to work with the charity regularly since then and am very pleased that The Gruffalo’s Child is leading their Christmas appeal this year and helping children and families at a time when books and stories are needed more than ever.’

Axel Scheffler said: ‘I am very happy that The Gruffalo's Child is at the centre of Scottish Book Trust's fundraising campaign this Christmas. Enjoying books together is important for families and it is terrible that many children still have no access to books - and that this need is becoming ever greater. I hope that many people will support this Christmas appeal, so that Scottish Book Trust can increase their work in making a difference to children's lives in Scotland.’

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Christmas is looking stark for many families across Scotland. Access to books is absolutely essential for a child's development and wellbeing, and for many the only books they have at home are the ones that have been given to them by Scottish Book Trust. Books make a huge difference to daily lives, bringing comfort, escapism and togetherness in families. Every child deserves a little magic at Christmas and donations to our appeal will provide vital support for those most in need.’

Funds raised from the appeal will enable Scottish Book Trust to give books to families via food banks and community hubs and deliver more of its life-changing work. Some examples of its programmes include specialist support for young families facing significant challenges through Bookbug for the Home, providing tactile books for children with additional support needs and supporting those living with dementia and the people who care for them.

To learn more about Scottish Book Trust’s Christmas appeal, visit scottishbooktrust.com/donate.

Notes to editors

Please direct all media requests to Abi Baross, Marketing and PR Manager at Scottish Book Trust, at abi.baross@scottishbooktrust.com(this link will open in a new window).


[1]: Scottish Government: Tackling child poverty - progress report 2022 to 2023: annex d - cost of living focus report(this link will open in a new window) [2]: Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Poverty in Scotland 2023 report(this link will open in a new window)

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity that believes everyone living in Scotland should have equal access to books. Our work provides opportunities to improve life chances through books and the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Access to books and a love of books bring many important benefits from family bonding and advancing children’s learning, to unlocking creativity, helping employability and improving mental health and wellbeing. Scottish Book Trust aims to support all communities across Scotland, with particular focus on those who are vulnerable and under-represented.

Our programmes and outreach work include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Find us online at scottishbooktrust.com. Follow @scottishbktrust on Twitter(this link will open in a new window), @scottishbooktrust on Instagram(this link will open in a new window) or like Scottish Book Trust's Facebook page(this link will open in a new window).

About The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo is the bestselling and well-loved picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. They are the UK’s #1 author and #1 illustrator respectively (2023). The Gruffalo was first published by Macmillan Children’s Books in March 1999 and the sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child, followed in 2004. The original picture book stories have now sold 18.2 million copies worldwide and are translated into 107 languages and dialects. Across the publishing brand, sales have now reached global sales of 38 million copies. The Gruffalo Live! Theatre adaptation is produced by Tall Stories and began touring in 2001, with The Gruffalo’s Child opening in 2006. The Oscar-nominated animated adaptation The Gruffalo (2009), and BAFTA-nominated The Gruffalo's Child (2011) are produced by Magic Light Pictures. The Gruffalo can be found in deep dark woods up and down the country, at sites managed by Forestry England, and he features at Merlin attraction locations across the UK.

Find out more at gruffalo.com(this link will open in a new window) and TheOfficialGruffalo on Facebook.