Costa Coffee and The Reading Agency have announced they’re teaming up to donate 100,000 books this Christmas to people across the UK who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. 50,000 book-and-coffee care packages have been packed, each containing an adult book, a children’s book, and some festive treats. These will be distributed to care homes, hospitals, food banks, and community hubs in time for Christmas.
As The Bookseller reports, the books selected for the packages have been chosen from the six of the bestselling authors associated with the Costa Book Awards. They are: Grandpa Bert and the Ghost Snatchers and Ellie and the Cat by Malorie Blackman, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, Kaspar: Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo, Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell, and The Salt Path by Raynor Winn.
Speaking of the care packages, Morpurgo said: “Reading is a journey of discovery which set me on the path to writing. Without it, I don’t know where I would be, so I believe it is absolutely vital that every person, whatever age and wherever they live, should have access to books and the doors they allow us to step through. That’s why I’m thrilled with Costa Coffee’s generous book donation and passionate about supporting the work of The Reading Agency.”
Costa’s Gift-A-Book campaign comes from ‘Jolabokaflod’, an Icelandic tradition where friends and family exchange books on Christmas Eve. Big-name authors such as Simon Callow, Konnie Huq, Andy McNab, Bobby Seagull, and Jacqueline Wilson will be sharing their favourite books to give on Christmas Eve, and people are urged to share their top reading choices using the hashtag #CostaGiftABook.
The Reading Agency CEO, Karen Napier, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with Costa Coffee. Books connect and transport us to other worlds, but not everyone can access them: this has been especially true in 2020, which has been so challenging for so many. We have had an extraordinary response to the campaign, and we hope that it will bring some much-needed festive cheer to families and communities from Liverpool to Folkestone, from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Mull. We are working towards a world where everyone is reading their way to a better life, and initiatives like this help our work towards giving every child and adult equal access to the joy of reading.”
MD of Costa Coffee UK & Ireland, Neil Lake, said: “Tradition is a big part of Christmas and, although this year will feel different for many people, we wanted to help some of those hardest-hit to create a new tradition inspired by this heart-warming custom of gifting books on Christmas Eve. As the proud sponsor of the Costa Book Awards, which is almost in its 50th year, we know the power of a great read and a perfect cup of coffee. Our teams are passionate about supporting the local communities they serve and, by gifting these care packages in partnership with The Reading Agency, we hope to give back to those communities with a comforting and joyful experience at the end of a turbulent year.”