Every child will get to know The Bumblebear

Published: 22 August 2017 at 13:40

Cover of The Bumblebear

Book by Anglia Ruskin graduate will be distributed to 700,000 children

A book by an Anglia Ruskin University graduate will be distributed to every reception-age child in the country in the autumn as part of a charitable initiative.

The children’s reading charity Booktrust will distribute 700,000 copies of Nadia Shireen’s The Bumblebear due to its strong storytelling attributes, clear message about inclusivity and realistic school setting.

The tale, about a bear who infiltrates ‘bee school’ on a honey-stealing mission, is being distributed as part of the Time to Read scheme. The initiative was launched last year by Booktrust to encourage parents and carers of reception-age children to read with them on a regular basis.

Nadia, who lives in Tufnell Park, London and graduated from her MA Children’s Book Illustration course in 2010, admitted the news was “mind-blowing”.

She said:

“It’s a huge privilege that so many kids will be able to read my book. Booktrust does an amazing thing and gets books to children who don’t necessarily have access to them. At the age of four or five, children’s minds are so open and they’re in charge of how they interact with books, so it is an unquantifiable gift to have my book chosen. It’s mind-blowing really."

Nadia, 38, who also has a law degree, decided to undertake the course part-time while working as a magazine journalist in London. Her books first came to the attention of publishers at an Anglia Ruskin degree show.

She added:

“I will always be indebted to Anglia Ruskin – I was a magazine journalist with no experience as an illustrator when I sent in some of my drawings, I didn’t even expect to be accepted onto the course.”

Professor Martin Salisbury, Course Leader for the MA Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art, said:

“We have followed Nadia’s career with great pride. Her books are intelligent and funny (just like her!). It is good to know that even more children will now get to enjoy them.”

Booktrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald said:

“We are thrilled every primary school starter in England will have their own copy of Nadia Shireen’s brilliant book The Bumblebear to take home and treasure with their family as part of the Time to Read Campaign. The Time to Read campaign is about celebrating and helping parents finding the time to read with their children. The Bumblebear is a playful book, with an endearing tale about friendship and loyalty which we hope every child across the country can enjoy and learn from.”

The Bumblebear was published by Penguin Random House Children’s Books, who have also recently published her latest book, The Cow Who Fell to Earth.

Andrea MacDonald, editorial director of Penguin Random House Children’s Picture Books said:

“We are thrilled that Nadia Shireen’s The Bumblebear will be reaching so many children across the UK, and to be working with Booktrust to support this wonderful campaign.

“The book’s message of acceptance and forgiveness, and its joyful celebration of school life mean that it is perfect for children starting reception – and not only that but Nadia’s trademark humour and sense of fun make it a laugh-out-loud experience fit to inspire a lifelong love of reading.”