Lynsey Pollard, Founder of Little Box of Books
Helping more children to see themselves in the books they read
It all started with ‘I Love You Honey Bunny’ by Christine Swift – a children’s book about two rabbits (mum and son) spending quality time together. It became a firm favourite with my boy, Arlo, because it gave him a sense he was actually in the story; he could relate to it. As a single mum of an only child, all of the stories Arlo had been previously exposed to were about ‘regular’ families with two parents and siblings. At nursery, he really started to question whether his own family unit was ‘normal’ and it got me thinking how important it is for children to see themselves in the books they read.
Having had a successful career in TV and the media (I worked as a producer for the BBC and GMTV before moving into the charitable aid sector – living and working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan), I used my skills to curate collections of children’s books from top publishers that were representative and inclusive, with characters from different socio-economic backgrounds. Our stories feature a diversity of races, cultures, representations of gender roles and disabilities.
With the publishing industry acutely aware that a lack of representation is an issue that needs tackling, the timing of Little Box of Books as a concept was perfect.
After launching the business last year, the reception to our boxes has been brilliant. We’ve had national coverage on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News and were listed in ‘The Guardian Christmas Gift Guide’. Our number of subscribers is continuing to grow and we’re getting our boxes into school libraries.
I’ve discovered since founding Little Box of Books that you go on a rollercoaster of emotions and fortunes. Building up skills in a lot of different areas in order to function correctly is crucial, as is remaining determined. I really believe that a moral core should be at the base of any business – something philanthropic that not only gives your offering extra impact and amplifies your message, but also makes a sincere and positive difference to the community at large. In our case, we donate one book to a literacy charity for every box we sell.