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Classic Novels Celebrated With Book Benches Across London

What’s your favourite children’s book? You may just spot it on the streets of London this summer.

The National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art have joined forces to bring 50 unique BookBench sculptures, based on classic novels, to the city to celebrate London’s literary heritage.
 
The Books about Town project features stories linked to London and is based on a range of iconic books from treasured children’s stories such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Peter Pan to classic adult titles including 1984 and The Day of the Triffids.

One of the benches features the work of renowned artist Axel Scheffler, celebrating his work with Julia Donaldson and the characters they have created together, including The Gruffalo and characters from their new book The Scarecrows’ Wedding.

Among the other top artists involved is Ralph Steadman who illustrated Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic Through the Looking Glass in 1973 and Rae Smith, the Tony and Olivier award-winning stage designer of the National Theatre’s production of War Horse.

Well-loved literary heroes such as Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Mary Poppins and Hercule Poirot also appear on benches which visitors can discover by following literary trails in Greenwich, City of London, Riverside and Bloomsbury until mid-September.

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The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling (author) and Ruth Green (artwork)
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Dr Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel (artwork) and Jane Headford (paintwork)
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Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson

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Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

David McKee (author) and Giles Boardman (artwork)
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War Horse

Michael Morpurgo (author) and painted by Gerard Strong
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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

C S Lewis (author) and Quad Digital/Mandii Pope (design)
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Paddington Bear

Michael Bond (author) and Michelle Heron (design)


The National Literacy Trust’s latest project comes as new research indicates that children’s enjoyment of reading has increased for the first time in eight years.

The charity surveyed around 30,000 children aged between eight and 16 year old, revealing that over half (53.3 per cent) of young people enjoy reading either 'very much' or 'quite a lot'. Eight years ago, it was just 51.4 per cent.
 
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust says: ‘We are very excited to be bringing a collection of BookBenches to London this summer to spread the love of reading across the capital.  From Conan Doyle’s Sherlock to Cressida’s dragons, there will be plenty in store for visitors to celebrate reading for enjoyment and the UK’s rich literary culture.’
 
For the latest news and to download the Books about Town trail maps of the BookBenches, visit www.booksabouttown.org.uk. The BookBenches will be available to buy at an auction held at the Southbank on October 7th with all proceeds going to support the National Literacy Trust’s vital work in improving the UK’s literacy levels.

Do you read with your child? Let us know in the comments box below.

 
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