Read North East gets the region reading with thousands of free Puffin and Ladybird books


Thousands of Puffin and Ladybird books will be given away to families for free across the North East over the coming months to inspire children to fall in love with reading. A series of book giveaways kicked off at intu Metrocentre in Gateshead on Tuesday as part of the Read North East campaign.

2,000 books were up for grabs at the shopping centre along with activity sheets and family reading tips. The books were donated by Penguin Random House Children’s, home to Puffin and Ladybird. Children also had the chance to meet Peppa Pig and enjoy storytelling activities throughout the day.

Read North East is a campaign from the North East Literacy Forum, led by the National Literacy Trust and supported by Penguin Random House UK. It encourages parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day to support their literacy skills and give them the best start in life.

The book giveaways are part of a programme of Read North East activities to help raise the region’s literacy levels, which are among the lowest in the country. Data analysis by the National Literacy Trust and Experian found that 60% of wards in the North East are at risk of serious literacy problems, making it the second most vulnerable region to literacy issues in the country.

north-east reading
north-east reading

Star of Gogglebox and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!'s jungle Scarlett Moffatt is supporting Read North East. She said:

“I’m delighted to be supporting the Read North East campaign from the National Literacy Trust and the North East Literacy Forum. Growing up I always loved story time and I want other children across the region to discover how fun reading can be!"

Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said:

“We want every child to have the opportunity to experience the magical world of stories. As a proud partner of Read North East we’re delighted to give away books for local families to take home and enjoy reading together.”

Director of the National Literacy Trust Jonathan Douglas said:

“We are thrilled to be launching our Read North East book giveaway bonanza in Gateshead during the half term holidays. Thanks to the generosity of our partner Penguin Random House, we are putting brand new books in the hands of thousands of children across the region, which we know can have a huge impact on how much they enjoy reading.

“Reading for just 10 minutes a day is enough to make a difference to children’s literacy skills – with the help of Peppa Pig, we’re looking forward to showing families how fun this time can be!”

north east reading
read north-east reading

The campaign will reach families all across the region, with events and initiatives taking place in different towns and cities over the next year. In 2017, children will also have the opportunity to get involved at events including:

  • 2 November: Bookworm Babies session at Seven Stories in Newcastle
  • 5 November: Read North East book giveaway at the Middlesbrough vs Sunderland match at the Riverside Stadium
  • 18 November: Northern Children’s Book Festival Gala Day at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields
  • 30 November: Read North East book giveaway at the Stockton Sparkles Christmas lights switch-on event
  • 30 and 31 December: Around the World New Year’s Eve Party for under-fives at Seven Stories in Newcastle

For more information about Read North East campaign visit

Press Enquiries

For more information on this story please get in touch via our media contacts.

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more