Leighton Park School in Reading is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a special event to coincide with next week’s World Book Day (5th March); a bookcrossing involving 125 books, one from each of the past 125 years. The initiative will see books being left at bus stops, in leisure centres, near shops and in parks over the next few days.
The idea behind a bookcrossing is that the books are left for the public to find, to enjoy and then to pass on – and hopefully the school will be able to track the books’ journeys locally and maybe even further afield.
Librarian Chris Routh said: “This bookcrossing is celebrating 125 years of reading and we hope that it might fuel the imagination of other people. We’re leaving some books in places where they might just stay and be re-read by others – for example a doctor’s surgery or a hairdresser’s. But it would be really exciting if some of the other books travelled around and we were able to see where they were going and who was enjoying them.”
So far, books have been placed at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the National Theatre in London, Green Park at junction 11 on the M4, Henry Street Garden Centre in Arborfield, the café at Circo, Reading station and one will even be starting its journey in San Francisco!
The books include picture books, short stories, poetry books, books for younger children and older teenagers and they have been donated by the school community.
The earliest book, published in 1890, is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, chosen for the author’s links with Reading. The latest published book, from 2014, is a collection of Doctor Who stories marking the series’ 50th anniversary.
Authors on the list include Enid Blyton, Shirley Hughes, Stephanie Meyer, Jacqueline Wilson, H G Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Chris added: “We have chosen a book from each of the past 125 years and wherever possible tried to make each choice relevant to our school and/or locality. In some cases it was very difficult to narrow down the choices, but we have managed to include all the Children’s Laureates, including the latest, Malorie Blackman.”
The bookcrossing project has been actively supported by the school’s Patron of reading, author Gillian Cross.
The books, which have instructions about the bookcrossing printed inside them and space for comments, will be tracked by readers emailing the school or tweeting with the hashtag #bookcrossing and information will be displayed on the bookcrossing website: www.leightonpark.com/bookcrossing
Any money raised through sponsorship will be donated to The Book Bus Charity, http://www.thebookbus.org/, which was set up by an Old Leightonian and co-founder of the Booker Prize, Tom Maschler, to fund literacy projects in Africa, Asia and South America