Local companies partner with BookTastic to champion literacy

school children attending BookTastic 2022 react to a reading by one of the visiting authors
Children's reactions at last year's BookTastic Festival in Bedford. Image: BookTastic

Thanks to generous local businesses, children attending this year’s BookTastic book festival in Bedford will each take a copy of their favourite book home for free.

As the 2023 Festival is focused on getting books into children’s hands, the BookTastic team turned to local businesses to support them with an ambitious plan – to make as much of the Festival as possible completely free.

As well as providing books to all attendees they are also ensuring schools attending will have their transport costs paid for too.

Some of the businesses partnering with BookTastic this year include Spicer Consulting, Premium Garage Equipment, Verve Development, Wooden Hill Coffee Company, Bedford Castle Rotary and David Hill Wealth Management – all of whom have seen the value in investing in the young people of Bedford and beyond.

Steve Spicer, of Spicer Consulting, said: “Spicer Consulting Ltd is pleased to be sponsoring our local school, Broadmead Lower School, to enable them to take part in BookTastic Children’s Book Festival.

“We love the idea of children being gifted a book to help foster a lifelong love of reading.”

BookTastic supporter, Wooden Hill Coffee Company, added: “We were so excited to be asked to get involved in this year’s BookTastic Festival.

“As a father of three, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your children getting absorbed in a whole new world of adventure. In this day and age of technology, I think it is essential to keep our kids off the tech as long as possible and to keep on reading.”

BookTastic Festival 2023

Rogan's Books
Booktastic Festival director, Rachael Rogan

Comprising 10 interactive events over five days in July, the BookTastic Festival will welcome 10 of the biggest names in children’s fiction to Bedford to give live readings, take part in Q&As and lead immersive workshops designed to inspire young people to discover the magic of reading.

This year, the Festival will welcome selected schools from across the county to attend the live events, hosted at the University of Bedfordshire, with a focus on supporting students who have very limited access to books.

Schools will also be able to enjoy the Festival live from their classrooms with a livestream license.

The primary objective of the BookTastic Festival, which takes place here in Bedford this July, is to get children reading. Illiteracy is a rarely talked-about issue, but according to the Department of Education, one in four children in the UK leave primary school unable to read to the accepted standard.

A staggering six percent of children and young people say they don’t have a single book of their own at home. BookTastic is joining forces with local companies to change that.

Rachael Rogan, Founder of BookTastic, said: “The work we do simply could not happen without the generous support of our sponsors.

“We know how life-changing it can be to discover the world of possibilities that reading offers and the more children we can give that opportunity to, the better.

“Not all children are lucky enough to have access to books and some children are rarely, if ever, read to. For these companies to give the gift of reading to these children is huge and we are so thankful to all of our amazing sponsors.” 

To find out more about BookTastic 2023, to sign up for a livestream license or to discover ways of supporting the Festival, visit booktastic.org.uk

To purchase any of the books in the 2023 programme, visit uk.bookshop.org/shop/booktastickids – all proceeds go directly to the not-for-profit organisation which is run entirely by volunteers.