Blue Peter has today unveiled a new Book badge, designed by one of the UK's best-known illustrators, Sir Quentin Blake.
The Blue Peter Book badge will be awarded to children aged 5-15 who send in their thoughts on a book, draw a character or scene and share which other books and writers they love.
Getting kids excited about great books has always been important for Blue Peter and so, as well as launching the new badge, they have teamed up with The Reading Agency and BBC Arts to bring viewers a monthly Book Club jam-packed with fantastic stories. Each month, presenters will showcase a new book and be joined by young readers to talk about the incredible stories, new worlds and fascinating characters they discover.
In the studio for the launch is author and BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James along with his co-author Chris Smith.
Greg James & Chris Smith say: "We are absolutely honoured to be launching this brand-new Blue Peter badge, designed by one of own children's book heroes, the marvellous Sir Quentin Blake. Reading is a superpower, and we know the Blue Peter Book Club and Book badge are going to inspire children across the country to put on their capes and pick up a book. We certainly know how excited we were to get our own Blue Peter badges - so it's brilliant there is now a badge dedicated to reading, to show children just how important it is."
Sir Quentin Blake says: "Reading can take you to amazing places."
Sarah Muller, BBC Children's Senior Head of Children's Commissioning 7+, says: "We know lots of our Blue Peter audience love books, we want to tap into that passion and inspire even more children to join us on this epic reading adventure. We are trying to reach everyone and inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime."
In partnership with The Reading Agency, an expert panel of librarians, booksellers and children in library sessions, Blue Peter have chosen a list of Book Club recommended reads from awesome authors and fantastic illustrators.
The Blue Peter Book Club recommended reads are:
- Michael the Amazing Mind-Reading Sausage Dog by Terrie Chilvers and illustrated by Tim Budgen (Firefly Press)
- Finding Her Feet by Eve Ainsworth and illustrated by Luna Valentine (Barrington Stoke, Harper Collins)
- The Christmas Carrolls by Mel Taylor-Bessent and illustrated by Selom Sunu (Farshore, Harper Collins)
- Juniper Mae: Knight of Tykotech City written and illustrated by Sarah Soh (Flying Eye, Nobrow)
- Poems Aloud: an anthology of poems to read out loud by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett (Wide Eyed Editions, Quarto Publishing Group)
- Am I Made of Stardust? by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and illustrated by Chelen Ecija (Buster Books, Michael O'Mara Books)
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency says: "The Reading Agency is delighted to be collaborating with the Blue Peter team to get their viewers excited about reading. Thank you to our library and bookseller partners for helping us to create this list, which has something for everyone."
Working with BBC Bitesize, BBC Arts, CBBC HQ and The Reading Agency, Blue Peter aims to introduce young readers to new writing and encourage a love of reading. BBC Arts will support the Blue Peter Book Club by bringing the books to life through animation, BBC Bitesize Primary will support the Blue Peter Book Club by creating companion guides to the books for Key Stage 2 children aged 7-9, whilst CBBC HQ will showcase writing, drawings and comments sent in by children from all over the UK.
Stephen James-Yeoman, Commissioning Executive from BBC Arts says: "Introducing children to books and reading for pleasure at an early age can help establish a life-long love of great writing. Exciting stories can become like best friends which stay with you and support you through life. I'm thrilled that BBC Arts is able to support Blue Peter's wonderful new book club, in partnership with The Reading Agency, BBC Bitesize and CBBC HQ and a huge thanks to Sir Quentin Blake for designing a fantastic new badge."
The Blue Peter Book badge will join the Quentin Blake archive which will eventually be shown at the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, opening in Clerkenwell in 2025. Sir Quentin was pleased to create the artwork because the badge is part of an initiative to encourage reading.
There are now nine types of Blue Peter badge - Blue, Silver, Green, Sport, Purple, Orange, Gold, Music and Book. For more information about Blue Peter badges and how to collect them visit bbc.co.uk/bluepeter
Blue Peter is a BBC Studios Kids & Family Production for CBBC.
Presented by Abby, Joel, Mwasky and Henry the Dog, new episodes of Blue Peter are on CBBC and BBC iPlayer every Friday from 5pm.