1 in 3 children in London do not own a book!

by mediocremum on 26/06/2011

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I was absolutely horrified to read in a paper a few weeks ago, that 1 in 3 children in London do not own a book!  One child, when asked to bring a book into school, brought an Argos catalogue as this was the only book in the house. Bloody hell! I believe this stems to busy parents, economics and the advent of technology.  Kids prefer an X-box/Playstation to a book any day.  I’m not pointing fingers, as working parents ourselves, we’re guilty as well but personally I think this is very sad.

My hubby and I are not book worms, it’s not that we can’t read we just don’t read a lot, we prefer online magazines, newspapers, twitter and blogs.  I also belong to a book club and have done so for 10 years but to be honest I rarely make it through a book.

However, ever since Madame was very young we’ve always emphasized reading and read her 3 books every night religiously, unless it’s a really long one then maybe only two.   Even when we can’t be arsed and skip a few pages, sadly she’s at the age now that she pulls us up on it!  As an ex-teacher you’ll be amazed at the benefits of reading to your kids for a mere 10 minutes a night.  Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now!

Like with anything, including wine, moderation is the key.  I’m an IT consultant who works in education and have done so for the past 10+ years.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said that technology is to compliment what you’re doing and not to replace.  My daughter is 3.5 and is a complete whizz on my iphone, I have it loaded up with games, music and videos for her…but the difference is they all have an educational element, she’s none the wiser.  You won’t find Angry birds on my phone.

Nothing compares to breaking the spine on a new book, turning the pages and losing yourself!

This weekend, we sorted out Madame’s reading corner.  I was inspired by Trapped in North Jersey.  We’re very limited on space but I think it’s perfect.    They’re picture ledges from Ikea (115cm) and only £8 each, bargain! What do you think?




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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gabrielle Starkey June 26, 2011 at 8:50 am

Love your daughter’s book corner. Sadly, I think that the little girl who brought the Argos catalogue in to school probably didn’t have busy parents at all. It will most likely have been a mix of poverty and ignorance. There’s a lot of it about. If you didn’t enjoy school yourself, left with no qualifications, don’t have a job and don’t care about books, why would you “waste” money on them when there’s the TV? It’s a vicious cycle of dumbing down.


2 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 10:14 am

It’s really worrying!


3 Stephanie Belton June 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I think this is the idea behind ‘Book start’, giving away some free books to every child at set stages, through the health visitor or nursery, does this still exist? We received excellent books through this initiative, some like “You Choose”, “Hug!” or “Mr Big” are still my youngest’s favourites.

On a different note, do you have any recommendations on educational iphone apps for a 3.5y old?


4 mediocremum June 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I think I heard they are going to ax that programme. Have to admit at first I wasn’t too worried as we did receive a book but remember thinking it was a naff book. But now I see how many children do not have books and I can see how valuable it is.

If you click on the tab at the top of the page Kids App you should see a few for kids, but more than happy to email you a list.

Do get in touch.


5 Stephanie Belton June 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Oops yes, sorry how did I miss it! Now playing Monkey Preschool Lunchbox :-)


6 Ella June 26, 2011 at 10:11 am


Was this what you used: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/50152595 ?

And is that in her bedroom? Thinking about the space. Wonder if you could get something similar ina shop that isn’t an hour’s drive away? Maybe homebase?


7 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 10:13 am

Yes, those are the ones. I couldn’t find them anywhere else. More than happy to bomb down with you sometime. Plus, the creche is free for 3 year olds??? It takes me less than 30 min to get there.


8 Lisa June 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

thanks for the mention! The reading nook looks great. We are moving next week and I just took down those bookshelves yesterday…here’s hoping I can put some back up in the next house.


9 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Fingers crossed and thanks for the inspiration!


10 geekmummy June 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

What a shocking statistic! Even in our technology-loving household we have loads of books, and the geekdaughter, like Madame, gets three stories a night (unless she’s been naughty in which case she loses one or more).

I can’t imagine living in a house with no books. I want both my kids to grow up and enjoy that feeling of completely losing themselves in a story like I did when I was a kid.


11 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I couldn’t say it better!


12 Liska June 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I have been reading about this London campaign a lot, in the paper. I just hope it’s not a publicity stunt by Argos themselves. Love what you’ve done. Looks as good as a library xx


13 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Oh gawd! I really hope not! Eeek!


14 Actually Mummy... June 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

A health visitor once told me that the average household owns less than 3 books and I couldn’t believe it. GG had at least 100 of her own and she was only 3 then. She is a bookworm, and it’s not down to me, although I did read to her a lot when she was little – it was the only thing she liked. Still the same now – she actually likes 123 Magic and plays it because it means she can have time on her own with her books (not daft that one!). Add to that the 50 or so belonging to the Bug, and probably 500 of my own in the loft, and that makes for a lot of houses with not a single book. It is unfathomable!


15 mediocremum June 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm

My mind boggles…think we need to do something about this. We should organize a free book day, in an area locally that may need it.


16 groovymum June 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Ridiculous, my little girls have 100s of books all lined up and down the walls of their bedroom. Whenever people are stuck for ideas about what to get them for birthdays I always ask them to buy books. We love nothing better to come across a gem of a book that has beautiful stories and pictures and the girls still bring home books from school to read every night. My husband who doesn’t really read for his own fun reads to them every night!


17 mediocremum June 27, 2011 at 8:09 pm

My husband does most of the reading as well.


18 TheLittleLibrarian June 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

And when more than 400 libraries in the UK face closing, what are these children supposed to do?


19 would like to be a yummy mummy June 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

What a fantastic reading corner. We have a bookcase filled with books and love reading to our little girls. Cuddling up with a story is a lovely way to the end the day for all of us!


20 Zee June 29, 2011 at 12:23 am

Love the book corner.
I am an avid reader and have always read to my children. Over the years we have collected hundreds of children’s books, from Peppa Pig to Darren Shan. I’m not exaggerating – I have seven children ranging from five (tomorrow) to nineteen and most of them ask for books for their birthdays or Christmas. I think it’s a terrible shame that so many children don’t even see a book until they start school.
Saying that – my youngest was also operating a laptop at age three and reprogramming my mobile phone at age four!


21 Lesley February 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm


We thought your pic was the local library at first glance. Great idea!

That is a sad story; one which you hope is hype and not true. Yet with many things competing for kids’ attention, a book is one thing that requires an adult to help in the early stages.

For us, the library was the key to our kids loving reading. Your IKEA rack would have been ideal for loading up a fresh swag of books. Imagine the fines we would have avoided in being that organised.

Great blog L


22 catherine April 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Thankyou so much for linking up your post xx I think i may be stealing this idea its fab, we have a funny little nook in little E’s room that we dont know what to do with this would be perfect xx


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