To mark its 40th anniversary, Beanstalk, the national literacy charity, will today publish 16,000 copies of a special book, to be gifted to every child the organisation has helped this year, as well as to their Beanstalk reading helpers and schools for their school libraries.

Jack and the Beanstalk and Other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes is a collection of especially commissioned stories by children’s authors and illustrators – including Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon – to help children who have fallen behind with their reading. The chapters, along with supporting teaching resources, will also be available for teachers, youth workers, parents and children to download from the Beanstalk website. 

To celebrate the launch of the book, Barnes & Noble has made the eBook version of Jack & the Beanstalk available for free on the 1,000 NOOK® Simple Touch eReaders that are being donated to Beanstalk reading helpers through its partnership with the Get Reading campaign.

Jack and the Beanstalk and Other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes features 10 different stories by successful children’s authors, including a play, three-verse stories and some beany jokes; and a foreword by Beanstalk’s Patron, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall.

The stories are aimed at readers of different levels and are graded accordingly. Each is based on, or inspired by, the original ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ fable and is illustrated with original black and white drawings. They range from a simple tale by a primary school teacher via a short play to more challenging stories for children who are building reading confidence. The idea is that reading helpers, parents and teachers can use different stories in the book to gradually help a child progress with his or her reading. 

Sue Porto, Chief Executive of Beanstalk, comments, “The ability to read is absolutely vital to ensure children can grow up to lead successful lives. For 40 years Beanstalk has been helping children to develop a lifelong love of reading. We have published this book as a way of celebrating all we have achieved and to thank all the children, schools and reading helpers we have worked with in our 40th Anniversary year for their amazing efforts. We hope it will bring them many hours of pleasure and help to inspire more people to support our efforts to reach more children.”

As part of the 40th anniversary celebration, authors and Beanstalk reading helpers will read to children on some of the NOOKs that Barnes & Noble has donated.

Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble, commented: “It is truly admirable that so many volunteers give their time to help children with literacy problems. By making this special Beanstalk book available on the donated NOOKs, alongside a selection of free eBooks from leading UK publishers, we’re providing a powerful tool to help these children improve their reading skills. In addition, we have made reading more accessible to families across the UK by reducing prices on NOOK devices for a limited time.”

Beanstalk trains volunteers to give one-to-one support in school to children who are struggling with reading. When the charity was founded in 1973, there were just seven reading helpers working in two schools. Forty years later, Beanstalk boasts a network of over 2,100 working reading helpers and aims to support 7,500 children across the country by the end of this academic year.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is the world’s largest bookseller and leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. NOOK, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, recently partnered with the London Evening Standard to support its Get Reading campaign to bolster its efforts to make reading more accessible and affordable across the UK. As part of its commitment, NOOK donated 1,000 of its award-winning NOOK Simple Touch eReaders to the Beanstalk charity, which will be used by Beanstalk volunteers to help improve the standard of reading in schools across the UK. The eReaders will feature the charity’s Jack & Beanstalk book pre-loaded onto the devices as well as several other bestselling and inspirational children’s books donated by top UK publishers.

Chapters from Jack and the Beanstalk will be available to download from the Beanstalk website from 12 June 2013:

The authors who have contributed to this book are available for interview, as well as Sue Porto, Beanstalk’s Chief Executive and Jim Hilt, Managing Director, Barnes & Noble.

For more information, please contact Amy MacLaren at Four Colman Getty:
T: +44 (0)20 3697 4245 | M : +44 (0)7980 843 088 | E:

Contributors to Jack and the Beanstalk and other Beany Stories, Poems and Jokes:


Sarwat Chadda specialises in action adventure for older confident readers.  He has travelled all over the world soaking up myths and legends from many cultures and his favourite book of all time is The Hobbit.  The second and third titles in his Ash Mistry series are published in 2013.
Linda Chapman is the author of more than 150 books including the popular My Secret Unicorn and Skating School series. As the mother of three young children she is very aware of the challenges of learning to read and has written a number of easy readers.  Look out for her recent series Sophie and the Shadow Woods.  
Steve Cole is known for his action adventure books such as the Astronauts, Cows in Action and Slime Squad series as well as novels for older readers such as Z. Rex and Tripwire. He has been a writer for Dr Who in books and audio and loves making music and reading comics.  He has also collaborated with Linda Chapman – confident readers will love their fantasy Genie Us.
Richard Dungworth has written more than 60 books for children from picture books and easy readers to fantasy adventure for older children.  He especially likes funny stories, and ones that rhyme.  Younger readers will enjoy his Genie Street series for Ladybird.
Saviour Pirotta has written over 100 books for children and is specially known for his retellings of traditional folk tales from all over the world.  Originally from Malta, he now lives in Yorkshire.  Look out for his retellings of Greek myths from Orchard Books.
Ronne Randall was born in New York and has lived in the UK since the 1980s.  She has published more than 130 titles on both sides of the Atlantic.  Her speciality is graded readers and she was an editor at Ladybird Books for many years as well as contributing to many of their story series.  Look out for Rex the Big Dinosaur.
Frank Rogers, who was born in Glasgow and went to the famous Glasgow School of Art, has written and illustrated over 70 books for children.   His Pirate Penguins, Little T, Mr. Croc and Witch’s Dog series are all great for newly independent younger readers. 
Francesca Simon is the creator of Horrid Henry and the author of many other books for children.  Originally from the United States, she lives in London.  Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman won the Children’s Book of the Year in 2008.  Try any of her Early Readers, such as Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend or Horrid Henry’s Birthday Party.
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell have collaborated on many best-selling books for children, including the renowned Edge Chronicles series for older readers.  Chris has won the Kate Greenaway Medal three times as a picture book illustrator and Paul has written over 50 books from picture books to older fantasy novels.  Try the Blobheads series.
Natasha Taroghion Budd is a primary school teacher who is currently head of art at a primary school in Fulham. Jack’s Lucky Bean is her first published story, and she so enjoyed writing and illustrating it that she is already planning to write more.
Kit Wright is an award-winning poet whose witty, sparkling and funny poems delight children of any age.  He also writes stories.  If you’ve enjoyed his poem about Jack’s encounter with Mrs G and would like to read more of Kit’s poems try his most recent collection The Magic Box.


Hannah George’s love of drawing and story telling began at a young age.  As a child she carried her sketchbook everywhere.  After graduating from Falmouth in 2005 Hannah set about turning her favourite past time into a career.  Among her recent picture books are If You Meet a Dinosaur and Duck Says Don’t.
Claire Henley has been a freelance illustrator and designer for over 20 years.  She now writes as well as illustrates children’s books and enjoys visiting schools and libraries to talk about the book-making process.  Younger readers might like to try Bella the Brave Fairy written and illustrated by Claire.
Chris Inns has worked in children’s publishing for the last 20 years. A highly-skilled art director, he also creates hi own books and illustrates for other authors.  Look out for his Pocket Heroes series written with Dave Woods.
Trish Phillips is an illustrator and picture book author, whose speciality is pop-up books because she really enjoys drawing, writing and making things.
Jane Porter is an illustrator specialising in work both for and with children.  Her work ranges from picture and novelty books to children’s maps, murals and hand-made books suitable for outreach work.
Justine Smith is an editor, writer and scriptwriter, currently studying for an MA in Children’s Illustration.  Her many books include the Baby Touch series for Ladybird Books.  Her new Zak Zoo series is ideal for new readers.  Justine’s drawings for the joke pages are her first formal foray into illustration.
Mike Smith is an illustrator who loves to draw stories.  In 2010 he won the Macmillan Prize for children’s book illustration, and his picture book The Hundred Decker Bus is out now.  He keeps an illustrated blog at
Angie Stevens is better known as the blogger Doodelmum.  Angie’s charming and hilarious drawings for her family life have just been published in her first book Doodlemum: A Year of Family Life.  Follow her at

Educational advisor

Geraldine Taylor is an award-winning author and a consultant to publishers in the areas of reading, motivation and the early development of skills.  She has researched and published on emotional factors affecting learning especially reading.  She is also a wildlife broadcaster and is on the staff of Bristol University counselling service for students.

About Beanstalk
Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading.  Its vision is a nation of confident children who can read and grow up to lead successful lives.
Beanstalk reading helpers work with children on a one-to-one basis, giving them their full attention and support to improve reading levels, increase overall confidence and inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for a whole year.  Together, they read, play and talk.  With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.
Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England through 17 branches in the North, Midlands, Greater London and Kent.

Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President.  This year sees it celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

Sue Porto has been Chief Executive of Beanstalk since 2010.  She has been instrumental in raising the profile of literacy issues through Beanstalk’s work with the London Evening Standard on its ‘Get London Reading’ campaign and was chosen as one of London’s 1,000 Most Influential People by the Evening Standard in 2011.  Prior to this she was Director of The Prince’s Trust South West of England and before that she worked for the Prison Service where she handled responsibility for Offending Behaviour Programmes.  She has seen first hand the impact of illiteracy and the very damaging effect it has on the long-term life chances of children and young people.

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) is a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The company operates 677 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, ( Its NOOK Media LLC subsidiary is a leader in the emerging digital reading and digital education markets.  The NOOK digital business offers award-winning NOOK® products and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store™ (, while Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC operates 678 bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Champion and is only one of 50 U.S. companies so named.  Barnes & is ranked the number one online retailer in customer satisfaction in the book, music and video category and a Top 10 online retailer overall in customer satisfaction according to ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index (Spring Top 100 Edition).

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