Thousands of Manchester school pupils to be given free book for summer reading

The free book initiate has been launched by Manchester City Council
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Every year 6 pupil in Manchester will receive a copy of the same book this summer. The initiative is organised by Read Manchester- which is a partnership involving Manchester City Council.  

Around 8,000 copies of 'The Lion Above the Door' by author Onjali Q Rauf will be given to Manchester pupils. The initiative is to help pupils style into their new secondary schools and to keep them reading over the summer. 

Rauf's book, published by Orion, tells the story of Leo and his best friend Sangeeta who often feel like the odd ones out at school and in the small village they live in, where everyone else is white.  That is until they go on a trip to a war museum where Leo sees his own name on a war memorial, starting him off on an amazing investigation that highlights some of the hidden history of World War Two and his own family.  

The Year 6 transition read for primary pupils is part of a broader five-year action plan called Making Manchester Fairer, which aims to address inequalities in the city that can start early on in life and even affect how long people live for, and their opportunities around work and housing. The plan also includes work around tackling cost of living pressures and poverty, which are also integral to improving health and wellbeing.

Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Early Years, Children, and Young People said: "Getting a copy of the same book as all their friends when they leave their primary school has now become a rite of passage for pupils in Manchester schools. 

Children from Bowker Vale Primary School with their free booksChildren from Bowker Vale Primary School with their free books
Children from Bowker Vale Primary School with their free books

 “Transition between schools can be a difficult time and having this common ground helps children and schools to manage that journey from primary to secondary. It's also a key part of our Read Manchester vision which looks to inspire children through reading and a love of books.”