21 Apr 2010

Bookseller Peter Ho has delivered a huge boost to The Children's Society's campaign to encourage young people to read.

He has donated surplus stock left over from World Book Day on March 4 to the young people in our projects across the country. Peter is the owner of an independent bookshop called Clerkenwell Tales in Exmouth Market, London.

When ordering selected titles for World Book Day this year, an event which gives several million schoolchildren in Great Britain a £1 token to be redeemed against any book, Peter ended up with more stock than he expected.

So he vowed that he would give the remainder to a charity of his choice. He has now delivered more 100 brand new books to the Children's Society including titles such as Thomas The Tank Engine favourite Thomas to the Rescue, Young Samurai by Chris Bradford and The Thief by Sophie McKenzie.

Peter first became aware of The Children's Society from regular customers who told him about our annual Bedtime Reading which is designed to encourage young people to read with their families.

He agrees passionately with this message and already supports The Children's Society by displaying a collection box in his shop.

Peter believes The Children's Society's campaign is vital because he is worried that children are becoming less interested in reading due to the Internet.

"It has definitely changed the way they think. Young people are taking in more information now but they do not use their own initiative," he said.

Peter believes it is important for children and young people to be more involved in reading books as this helps them develop or expand their imagination, understand different points of view and share their opinions amongst peers. He would like to see young people doing more "critical" reading, where they record their thoughts and discuss them with their friends and family.

Peter also believes that reading books can be a comfort for young people and advised that they should read ones that reflect on their every day lives and the way they are feel. 

"This will hold their interest," he said. 

It might also inspire them to produce their own creative writing. Peter believes in community work. At the age of 17 he was volunteering in the public sector, helping disabled adults and young children. Peter's hard work and dedication was notice through out Redbrook Resource Centre and he was offered a permanent role as a project worker.

Later he worked for the huge national bookselling chain, Waterstone's, for four years. He loved every moment of it and the experience motivated him to set up his on bookshop in a multi-cultural community.

Peter's aim is to sell books that relate to the people in his community. The books and authors that inspired him as a young person include the science fiction, fantasy and graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman, J D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Peter thinks children's charities should be more visual and that The Children's Society's projects should team up with local libraries, to promote reading and learning.

Asked so say in sentence how he would describe the variety of books you sell he said: "I will continue to sell books that I believe in and inspire me."