READING offers everyone the chance to escape, says Ben Fogle.
The adventurer and author is the latest personality to back The Sun’s Books For Schools campaign.
The dad of two, who lives with wife Marina, 42, and their children Ludo, ten, and eight-year-old Iona, says; “I love reading. I spend a huge amount of time travelling on planes and have always got a book on the go.
“It’s important that children get the opportunity to read lots of different types of books and this campaign is just wonderful. Every book is a part of me. I remember where I read it and what I was going through at the time. They’re my escape as well as my teacher. Marina and I have always read to Iona and Ludo . . . Ludo is becoming a bookworm, I rarely see him without a book in his hand.”
“They love having stories being read to them, although they both enjoy reading alone too.” An astonishing £12MILLION worth of books are up for grabs for primary schools in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. One in three primary schools have signed up to collect the tokens.
Registered schools which collect 3,500 tokens will get a box of books worth more than £600 from the Collins Big Cat reading programme. Titles by bestselling kids’ authors such as Julia Donaldson and David Walliams are included in the box.
Ben, 46, has written ten adult non-fiction books and four children’s tales which were co-written with Steve Cole. The Mr Dog series for children of seven and eight sees the title character help out any animal in trouble.
“When I had the idea for Mr Dog, I used Ludo and Iona for the first guinea pigs. I was pretty nervous as children are so honest.” Reading didn’t come naturally when Ben was young.
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We all go through horrible things… losing yourself in a book helps. It takes you away somewhere else
He says: “I’m a bit dyslexic so I found learning to read hard. I muddled up the letters but learnt to power through.”
“I eventually realised you don’t have to understand every single word, and that reading in your head doesn’t have to be perfect. Once I took that pressure off, it gave me confidence.
“Reading aloud could be humiliating, I was shy about doing it. Bear in mind I failed my English GCSE and A levels, which goes to prove that if I can embrace it, so can anyone.”
In 2014, Ben and his wife were heartbroken at the loss of baby Willem in the eighth month of Marina’s pregnancy.
Ben made a promise to Willem he would live his life as “brightly and as brilliantly” as he could in his honour.
Ben says: “We all go through horrible things but losing yourself in a book can really help.”
“It takes you away somewhere else. With the pressures of modern life, taking time to read is more important than ever.”
And Ben strongly believes that there are books out there for everyone. He says: “There are books about everything.
“Whether your child is into riding or cycling or snakes, capitalise on their interest. If you find the choice overwhelming, ask the librarian.”
- Mr Dog And The Faraway Fox by Ben Fogle (HarperCollins Children’s Books, £5.99) is out on January 9.
NOW GRAB YOUR TOKEN
IT is time to collect your Books For Schools tokens. Today’s is below.
This is what you need to do to claim your FREE books for your school.
- Check your primary school is among the one in three that has registered at:
- Help your school collect tokens from The Sun and The Sun on Sunday. Tokens will be printed EVERY DAY until Saturday, January 18, 2020. Each registered school needs to collect 3,500 tokens.
- Once a school has amassed 3,500 tokens, it must return them by Saturday, February 8, 2020.
- Your school will receive the books in March 2020.
- Terms and conditions apply. Online registration required. Multiple token collect.