Category: Campaigns

Ideas to entertain lockdown children from Katherine Rundell!

Ideas to entertain lockdown children

Here are some brilliant ideas to entertain lockdown children.

Award-winning children’s author, Katherine Rundell, has edited The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdownwhich is completely free for all children and families.  The extraordinary collection includes short stories, poems, essays and pictures from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon, Jacqueline Wilson – and Katherine herself.

I’m delighted to have contributed small essay about the beauty of hares in amongst such treasures.

The Book of Hopes aims to comfort, inspire and encourage children during lockdown through delight, new ideas, ridiculous jokes and heroic tales. There are true accounts of cats and hares and plastic-devouring caterpillars; there are doodles and flowers; revolting poems and beautiful poems; and there are stories of space travel and new shoes and dragons.

The collection is dedicated to the doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners and everyone currently working in hospitals. Bloomsbury intends to publish a gift book based on the project to be published in the autumn in support of NHS Charities Together.

“A few weeks ago, I began a Hope Project; I emailed some of the children’s writers and artists whose work I love most. I asked them to write something very short, fiction or non-fiction, or draw something that would make the children reading it feel like possibility-ists: something that would make them laugh or wonder or snort or smile. The response was magnificent, which shouldn’t have surprised me, because children’s writers and illustrators are professional hunters of hope. I hope that the imagination can be a place of shelter for children in the hard months ahead and that The Book of Hopes might be useful in that, even if only a little.”

Katherine Rundell

Reading Stories Aloud

It’s wonderful that so many of you want to continue reading my books out to your class online during the school closure. Normally this is more complicated than it sounds due to copyright issues (my publisher holds the audio book rights) but owing  to the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in, Hachette Children’s Group have generously granted an open license to September 30th, and you can find the details below.

All of my titles are available as audiobooks on Audible.

And I will also be reading all of my titles out loud, daily on weekdays, at 2.30pm every day, on Instagram Live (@piers_torday), a chapter a day, beginning with The Last Wild. The chapters will be available on Instagram TV for 24 hours.

Happy Reading and Listening! #unitedinbooks


Hachette Children’s Group: Open Licences and Permissions for Online Story-Time and Classroom Read-Aloud Videos and Live Events – information

In order to encourage reading and classroom read-aloud experiences, and to support schools, bookshops and public libraries forced to close by the COVID-19 situation, Hachette Children’s Group is permitting authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians and booksellers to create and share story-time and read-aloud videos and live events on closed educational platforms or streamed temporarily on a live platform.


Teachers, librarians, booksellers, authors and illustrators providing content for children during the period 19th March to 30th September 2020:

  • Should announce the title of the book and the name of the author and/or illustrator as part of each video 
  • Should notify us via email (addressed to when they post or stream a story-time or read-aloud video or live event, providing the following information:
  1. Name and address of the library, school, or shop
  2. Title, author and ISBN of the book that is read
  3. Contact information for the individual responsible for the reading
  4. The educational or social media platform on which the video or live event is posted or held and a link to that video or live event

Financial gain

For clarity, permission is granted only for free use of the readings.  If you are planning to charge for any use of these recordings, you should contact in the first instance, seeking formal agreement, which may not be granted.


Guidelines for educational settings 

  • School story-time or classroom read-aloud videos in which an Hachette Children’s Group book is read aloud and the book is displayed may only be created and posted to closed educational platforms 
  • These storytime and classroom read-aloud videos may be hosted on the educational platform until the end of September 2020, after which they must be removed from the educational platform, unless this permission is extended by formal agreement

Guidelines for public libraries and bookshops

For authors, illustrators, booksellers and librarians who wish to provide a story-time reading or other read-aloud experience to young people who would otherwise visit the library or bookshop in person:

  • Story time or read-aloud live events in which an Hachette Children’s Group book is read out loud and the book is displayed may be streamed live, in real time, on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitter, and Instagram
  • These story time or read-aloud live events may not be maintained in the archive of the social media platform and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that videos of the live events are not retained. Because these platforms automatically archive live events by default, when your event has concluded, please locate the recorded live video in your account (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and delete it. 

Our guidance on the percentage of content to be recorded for hosting on open platforms, is usually to follow standard permissions practice, specifically designed to protect IP.  However, we acknowledge that we are not operating in normal circumstances, so are happy to allow authors or illustrators, who wish to do so, to host recorded content of themselves reading their book/s on open platforms, until the 30th September.

If you are sharing your content with a third party platform, please do let us know so we can support this activity online and please do make a note to ensure the content is taken down by 30th September. Of course, no one knows how long the current situation is going to go on for, so it may be that we decide to extend this date and we will of course let you know.


8½ reasons to celebrate

This year on Thursday 7 March, the Ministry of Stories – of which I am a proud Trustee – will celebrate 8½ years of existence. We’ll be doing this in our time-honoured fashion of hosting an amazing party, with a delicious banquet, games galore, a notoriously demanding quiz from co-founder Nick Hornby and most importantly of all, a showcase of the inspirational work produced by our young writers.

It’s going to be a great night, and we’d love you to come.

We’d really love you to come.

But, why should you? Well, here are 8½ reasons why:

1. There is only ONE party like it.

No-one else we know celebrates their 8½ birthday, and no-one celebrates a birthday like us. Where else will you see celebrated authors, poets, performers and business leaders gathered together to celebrate and showcase the imaginative genius of the next generation – our children.

2. If you get TWO questions right, you’re doing well.

Call yourself a quizzer? Fancy yourself a trivia buff? You have not been tested until you have faced a Nick Hornby quiz. Beat my record of two correct answers and I’ll buy your table an extra bottle.

3. I’ve been THREE times.

The first time changed my life. It was so inspiring, I decided to get involved with the Ministry as a Trustee. Will it change your life?

4. It’s just FOUR hours of your life.

But your generosity could help us deliver over 4000 hours of volunteer mentoring support, and over 40 speeches by children to Members of Parliament in the House of Commons!

5. One in FIVE parents in London struggle with literacy and are not able to read confidently with their children.

We can help them. YOU can help them. By coming to our party.

6. There are at least SIX very scary monsters who rely on us for their regular supply of dragon treats, earwax and petrified mice from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

And trust me, you don’t want to upset them.

7. If you can’t make it, why not send us a present instead.

Just SEVEN pounds a month could support a young person struggling to find writing inspiration to become a published author – donate here.

8. If you can make it, why not take a VIP table of EIGHT guests?

You get 8 of the best seats in the house, special thanks in event programme, our limited edition 8 ½ birthday poetry anthology, AND 3 quiz cheats!

½. You’ve got a half a chance here to make a real difference in this world.

So, will you?

Find out more and buy your tickets here.

Announcing Authors4Oceans – take the plastic pledge!

Today I proudly join over 50 of the UK’s top authors and illustrators, including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and Jacqueline Wilson, as we pledge our support for a campaign encouraging the book industry to ditch plastic, to try and save our oceans.

Authors4Oceans is the brainchild of children’s author Lauren St John, who wants publishers, bookshops and readers to reduce the amount of plastic they use by finding eco alternatives to the bags, straws, bottles and single-use cutlery that ends up at the bottom of the sea.

She came up with the idea when she ordered a drink in a bookshop and it came with a plastic straw “It made me think of all the bookshops across the UK – there are 300 branches of Waterstones alone – and about how many of them dish out plastic straws and bags every day. If I had written on behalf of myself I probably wouldn’t have achieved anything, but I thought if I teamed up with other writers and illustrators we might have a voice.”

I couldn’t agree with Lauren more, and along with M.G. Leonard, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell, Tom Moorhouse, Robin Stevens and Rob Macfarlane, Jackie Morris, Marcus Sedgwick, Quentin Blake and Patrice Lawrence, to name but a few, we are all campaigning to rid our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers of the plastic menace.

You can visit Authors4Oceans website, which has teacher resources, blogs and tips on how to reduce plastic waste.

One school will win a visit from a bestselling children’s author and 50 books – one from every author and illustrator who signed up to support Authors4Oceans. Two runners up will win author visits and 30 books, and a third prize winner will receive 20 signed books.


We were all inspired ny last year’s “Blue Planet II” BBC programme, presented by David Attenborough, which revealed that pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the oceans by 2050.

It is not too late to change this though – and truly, every step you take will make a difference. So what are you waiting for? Take our pledge!