20.12.2022 / Knud Wassermann

Children Write and Design Their Own Book

"Topic Heroes" is an initiative from the UK that aims to motivate and inspire schoolchildren to write and design their own book. At the end, they hold their very own personal book in their hands in printed form.

We have often reported on personalized children's books in our blogs (see, for example). The range is broad and continues to enjoy great popularity. Many parents see this as an opportunity to get their children excited about reading and thus to tear them away from their cell phones or tablets, at least for a few hours.

From the computer to the bookshelf
The "Topic Heroes" initiative goes one step further. It aims to give every elementary school-aged child the opportunity to not only personalize an existing book, but to write their own topic-based book. The managing director of the Nutshell agency, Lucy Swanston, who is driving the project forward, explains in this context that an estimated 380,000 children in the UK do not own a book. The approach is intended to promote self-confidence, enjoyment and personal responsibility in learning, and to strengthen children's media skills. The journey begins on the computer at school and ends on the child's own bookshelf.

The World Literacy Foundation's 2019/20 Annual Report has once again shown that there is a huge need for high-quality educational materials to engage children in writing and reading. Currently, nine million adults in the UK are affected by a lack of literacy skills. These deficits increase the risk of people becoming unemployed and are said to cost the UK economy around £ 36 billion.

Addressing children emotionally
The program has already attracted 25 elementary school. Pupils create their own books on screen under the guidance of teachers, based on one of the many school subjects, and receive professionally printed and bound copies of their books on completion. 

"A physical book provides more impact, more variety, encourages sharing with others, and creates lasting memories to keep at school or at home. Most importantly, it engages children emotionally and is a great way to recognize their achievements," asserts Andy Goodwyn, professor of literacy at the University of Bedfordshire.

The program has been supported by the Premier League's Primary Stars Outreach project and Huddersfield Town Football Club and has received positive feedback from children, teachers and parents. It has received seed funding and is now looking for more sponsors.

"Topic Heroes is an ideal corporate social responsibility program," asserts Lucy Swanston. That's why the invitation is also going out to the print industry to get behind the initiative and help connect the digital world with the physical world, so that books become a permanent part of children's lives. "If we can get kids excited about printed books, it's a sustainable investment in the industry."

The program was developed by Nutshell Creative in collaboration with the University of Bedfordshire. Read more about the initiative here.

Knud Wassermann, 
Editor-in-Chief, "Graphische Revue“
20.12.2022 Knud Wassermann Editor-in-Chief of Graphische Revue