Book benches open up world of reading in London

LONDON (NBC/ITN VIA EBU) — Britain’s National Literacy Trust has come up with a colorful way to promote reading.

Some 50 benches decorated to look like open books have been set up around London.

The artwork on the benches is inspired by classic books, characters and authors. Each bench was hand designed by an artist.

“How to Train Your Dragon” author Cressida Cowell is taking part in the project. She read to children in London Wednesday, sitting on top of her dragon bench.

“Our incredible literary heritage and our writers and artists working in the UK right now — this is something we punch way above our weight on the world stage,” said Cowell. “This is something we should celebrate, and we are!”

“We know that actually, there is still a need to drive up reading and literacy standards in the capital,” said UK National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas. “Sadly, that is also strongly linked to poverty, so poorer children are more likely to be failing in terms of literacy. Now the best way to remedy that isn’t simply through excellent schools — which we already have — but also by getting the capital reading. ‘Books About Town’ is about stimulating a love of reading to try and drive up those reading standards.”

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