NEWS – Winners of the HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants for Independent Booksellers 2019

June 19, 2019

In association with the National Literacy Trust, we are so excited to announce the recipients of the HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants for Independent Booksellers.

The grants were launched at our HarperCollins Indie Thinking evening in January 2019. They were set up with the National Literacy Trust as a successor to the Independent Bookshop Grants that offered funding to bookshops to attract new customers through entrepreneurial new projects.

The HarperCollins Literacy Project Grants aim to bring together communities, support schools in areas of significant deprivation and inspire a love for reading in children. While we originally pledged to award ten grants, due to the strength of the applications, twelve winners were chosen!

We’d like to extend our huge congratulations to following recipients of the grant:

The Edinburgh Bookshop

The Edinburgh Bookshop will develop ‘Story Sacks’ for Nursery and P1 children to help make reading more meaningful and memorable.

Edinburgh Bookshop: “Supporting the community and particularly fostering a love of stories in children is at the heart of our bookshop ethos. To be given with this grant, and thus the opportunity to help children in as many ways possible fall in love with stories and books is a genuine gift. We are thrilled and very grateful to Harpercollins and the Literacy Trust for funding our Story Sacks project to support multilingual families in sharing stories.”

Forum Books

Forum Books plan to work with Year 3&4 students to help them design, make and launch their own book. 

Helen: “We’re completely thrilled to be awarded a Literacy Project Grant – thank you! And are so excited to involve the children from Wark First School in Northumberland in this project – we’re already planning the bookshop launch party!”

Sarah Davy, Forum Books’ writer in residence: “I’m delighted to be delivering this project in my local rural school and can’t wait to inspire the next generation of readers and writers.”

Lindum Books

Lindum Books will programme a free-to-attend monthly interactive storytelling and craft session based on a published picture book for pre-school children. 

Lindum Books: “Here at Lindum Books we are thrilled and delighted to receive a grant from HarperCollins and The Literacy Trust, which will enable our monthly interactive storytime sessions to continue.  We feel it is so important to the development of literacy for young children to have the opportunity to experience stories, and to do so in a bookshop.  We also believe it is important for bookshops to provide opportunities and experiences beyond the buying of books, particularly in this time of decline in local library services.  This grant means so much to us as we had concerns about being able to continue funding our storytime sessions, but HarperCollins has now secured their future for at least the next year.”

The Book Hive

The Book Hive will create a scheme to encourage and reward young readers with sew-on ‘Book Explorer patches,’ similar to those for sports achievements.

Henry: “The Book Hive is thrilled to have been selected for one of the HarperCollins Indie Grants. It will allow us to take an already excellent relationship with local a storyteller to the next level. We will be able to create a fun and rewarding set of reading challenges and goals which will reach many more kids then we previously did. We are all very excited – Thank you!”


Read. Holmfirth will run informal and friendly song and storytime sessions around the local area (pre-schools & reception classes, libraries, parks, play gyms etc.) to help adults gain confidence in reading to children.

Read. Holmfirth: “We are incredibly proud and excited to have been awarded a Literacy Project Grant. Improving literacy and the life chances of children is what drives us and we feel very lucky to be given the opportunity to work more closely with schools, preschools, libraries and community groups to do this.”

The Little Ripon Bookshop

The Little Ripon Bookshop will host ‘The Big Book Hullabaloo,’ a celebration of books and reading for local Year 3 students.

The Little Ripon Bookshop: “We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to ‘Get Loud About Reading’ in Ripon with the support of Harpercollins and The National Literacy Trust. ‘The Great Big Book Hullabaloo’ will be a celebration of books and stories with all the Year 3s in the city. We want to make the event a day to be remembered, something which will inspire young readers and become a regular part of the Ripon calendar. We can’t wait to get started!”

Red Lion Books

Red Lion Books will work with a local community service to help support new refugee and migrant families in Essex to share stories by providing a safe and welcoming environment and structured storytelling.

Red Lion Books: “It has long been a wish of ours to reach out to a sector of the community that struggles with literacy. The suggestion of a grant gave us the motivation to research into this further and understand the long term and devastating consequences of being illiterate. We hope to make a tangible difference to 5 families by providing a reading “experience”, within a safe space, to foster a life-long skill.

Round Table Books

Round Table Books will help the most vulnerable to illiteracy through events to improve confidence in reading. They will also work with dyslexic and differently-abled children and their carers to help enrich storytime at home.

Round Table Books: “We want nothing more than for everyone to feel comfortable reading. We absolutely love what Harper Collins is doing because it’s showing children that their bookshops care about them and want them to achieve the best that they can.”

Sevenoaks Bookshop

Sevenoaks Bookshop will create a magazine for young readers created by kids, for kids. The magazine is free, available in the shop and provided to local libraries and schools.

Fleur: “We’re so delighted to receive the HarperCollins Literacy Grant! Our aim as a bookshop is to do as much as we can to nurture a love of reading in our local community. Bookmark is a magazine made entirely for children, by children, with our Young Readers creating features, interviewing authors, writing reviews, and illustrating each issue. We received such a positive response from children, parents, teachers, authors, and publishers alike for the first issue in Spring. The grant offers a wonderful opportunity for us to build on these foundations and continue the magazine into 2020. Most importantly: it means the magazine continues to be completely free, so any child can pick up a copy and be inspired.

Stanfords Bristol

Stanfords Bristol will deliver an 8-week course taught by a specialist tutor and free books to help boost parents’ confidence to read with their children at home.

Katharine Seymour: “We’re so excited to be part of this project! This grant will enable us to run an adults’ literacy course to help parents better support their children with reading at home. We’ll be working closely with a fantastic local primary school in an area of the city that suffers high levels of economic deprivation, and hope that the course will boost parents’ confidence and show that bookshops are welcoming spaces open to everyone.”

The Rabbit Hole

The Rabbit Hole will be offering a range of reading activities and storytelling that bring together the elderly community and local children. They will also encourage participation in rhythm and rhyme through drumming.

The Rabbit Hole: The grant kindly made to The Rabbit Hole will make a huge difference to our community in encouraging an intrinsic approach to reading for pleasure helping readers to learn through others how to move beyond reading towards story telling.”

The Snug Bookshop

The Snug Bookshop will run courses to teach adults how to make reading fun for kids at home. Samantha Carr, owner and manager will also hold training sessions for 2 local primary schools in her literacy boosting scheme.

Samantha Car: I am delighted to have won a Harper Collins Grant for Literacy. At first I was really overwhelmed with emotion ( Really? Me? Are you sure? ) because it will make such a difference to my small town of Bridgwater. My Bookshop has only been open for 7 months and already it has become a firm and much loved feature of the town. I cannot thank Harper Collins enough for this award and the opportunities that it is going to provide and the great good that it is going to do to promote a love for reading and a passion for books! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Bridgwater and surrounding villages for their support in helping me to achieve my life long dream of being a bookseller.”

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