You might not think airplanes and children’s books have much in common, but the low-cost British airline EasyJet is looking to change that.
Over the last summer EasyJet unveiled their “flybraries” or flying libraries, hoping to encourage young passengers to read more. According to an article by Nicola Irwin in The Irish Independent independent.ie, EasyJet “started the flybraries after research found a decline in reading among young children.” After polling 2,000 British parents with children aged eight to 12, EasyJet found that 83 percent of them thought that their children are reading less than they did at that age. Children can start the books while on board then download that title or a sample of another selection on a device while away. The next passenger can then pick up the book. Some 7,000 books are available across the airline’s 147 planes flying to European destinations.
The airline didn’t have to look far to find someone to choose the titles for their EasyJet Children’s Book Club. Best-selling British children’s book author and former children’s laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson unveiled her choices at the Book Club launch at Gatwick Airport in England. With Puffin Classics providing the titles, Wilson hoped the summer would provide an ideal time for young fliers to get stuck in great stories. She told the UK Huffington Post, “Books stimulate a child’s imagination and development. Reading soothes, entertains, grows vocabulary and exercises the mind and a flight is the perfect place to escape into a literary adventure. That’s why I think this campaign is such a clever match.”
So what titles made it into this ‘Library in the Sky’? On the EasyJet Children’s Book Club website, Wilson states, “Because the very word ‘classic’ generally makes most children roll their eyes and go, ‘Boring!’ so I wanted to have books the children might not have read but are familiar with the story, like Alice in Wonderland or Wizard of Oz, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because they’ve probably seen a video of it. And then I wanted books that appealed to both boys and girls, and I think nearly all of the choices will fit whatever sex you are. As well as really well-known classics, I wanted some modern classics too.”
If American children who aren’t lucky enough to visit Europe aren’t familiar with Wilson’s books, they should be able to get hold of her flybrary selections.
Wilson’s Top 5 Puffin Classics:
Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan
Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories
Nesbit, E. The Railway Children
Wilson’s Modern Classics:
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Ibbotson, Eva. Journey to the River Sea
Jansson, Tove. Finn Family Moomintroll
Norton, Mary. The Borrowers
Serraillier, Ian. The Silver Sword