As creatives we are continuously absorbing every type of media, in search of new inspiration and perspective. Books will always be a wonderfully rich source for this.

Across our foodservice, retail and consumer marketing, PR and design teams, we have a bunch of talented copywriters, all falling in love with writing after a privileged upbringing which afforded us bedtime stories and a structured reading programme throughout our childhood education.

But not everyone is fortunate enough to access these reading materials. The charity ‘World Book Day’ says; “In the UK, nearly 400,000 children don’t have a book of their own. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. Our mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.”

Today marks 25 years of World Book Day and we wanted to raise awareness of this important charity and celebrate our love of reading by sharing some of our favourite books with you.

Recognising first-hand the positive impact reading has on our lives both as children and working professionals in the comms industry, we felt compelled to donate to this important cause. A donation of just £1/€1.50 helps the charity send book tokens and books to children across the UK and Ireland. For 1 in 5 children receiving free school meals, the World Book Day £1/€1.50 book is the first book they’ve ever had of their own*.

How it works:

  • The £1 tokens and £1 books (a gift to children from booksellers and publishers) give all children the chance to choose and own a book – for free.
  • World Book Day, in partnership with schools and others, distributes the £1/€1.50 World Book Day book tokens to children and young people.
  • In exchange for the £1 token children can receive a World Book Day £1 book for free, or get £1 off a full price title (€1.50 off in Ireland) any full price book or audiobook (as long as the book or audiobook costs at least £2.99 (or €3.99 in Ireland).
  • Children can swap their £1 token for any of the World Book Day books at booksellers (including supermarkets).

If you’d also like to make a donation, you can do so here.

The jellybean Bookcorner

If you’re a bookworm like the beans, you may recognise some of the following titles. We’d love to know your favourite book too, so let us know on socials @jellybeanagency.

So without further ado, here are some of the books that have made us laugh, cry and learn something new:

Summer Kitchen: Recipe and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine by Olia Hercules (2020) – jellybean, Mary had the opportunity to work with Olia earlier this year before the war broke out and she spoke so proudly of her Ukrainian heritage and how much it influences her cooking. She has dedicated her career to celebrating Ukrainian food and drink and her most recent cookbook is a love letter to Ukraine and the people in her life who have inspired her cooking. Mary says, “You get a real sense of the community spirit and rich culture in the way she describes her recipe inspiration. Her forged nettle, sorrel and wild garlic soup is a favourite of mine and I salivate over the thought of her potato dumplings with plums and honey.”

Cakes and Cookies for Beginners – Clare was given this as a child and still swears by it now for simple (and almost foolproof) bakes.

Vanesa is a fan of Plant Over Processed by Andrea Hannemann. A vegan Instagram influencer living the ‘perfect’ life in Hawaii who shares her recipes which “look amazing and provide alternative healthy inspiration if you are trying to eat better.”

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini was chosen by two beans for its lasting impact. Emma says of the novel, “Whilst teaching about the devastating history of Afghanistan in which the book is set, it deals with many heart-breaking issues surrounding betrayal and redemption.” “An oldie but a goodie,” says Clare. “I couldn’t recommend this enough to anyone looking to get lost in a great novel – prepare to feel every emotion possible.”

Another “emotional literary rollercoaster which has a profound impact on its readers” is Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, says Jess. “Heartbreakingly wonderful, the most moving book I’ve ever read. And wow – that twist! I was so absorbed in the book, in Elsie’s character I didn’t see it coming.”

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins was a compelling read for Fiona, “The story follows a woman who had to escape (with her young son) from a drug Cartel in South America and travel to safety. It was terrifying to learn how far reaching the tentacles of influence of Cartels are and how much control they wield. At the same time it was amazing to read what a person will do to protect and survive. This book was enlightening and frightening, in equal measure, about the world we live in and at the same time, inspiring about human nature in the face of adversity.”

Dune by Frank Herbert (1965) – another recommendation of Mary’s, “I’ve often been warned that Dune is a laborious read but as a lover of sci-fi and with the recent release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, I finally picked up a copy and committed myself to reading the 1965 novel. There are lots of books I love but only a few have changed me as a person and Dune is one of them. The novel is much more than giant sandworms and spicy space drugs, it contains important messages about environmental science and climate issues that transcend the fictious universe. Alongside his masterful storytelling, Herbert’s extensive world-building and careful study of ecology within Dune is some of the most incredible writing I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for an epic book to grip, move and educate you – I can’t recommend Dune enough.”

A Poem for Everyday of the Year by Allie Esiri was gifted to Sue by her daughter who lives in New Zealand. “Every evening I read my poem for the day and it brings me closer to Rachel,” Sue shares.

Another book loved by the beans for its uplifting nature and message is You Are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero. Ellie recalls how the book gave her a different outlook on life.

Vanesa adores The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett for the careful detail and its ‘can’t stop reading’ lure.

Another book that is impossible to put down is Heavier Than Heaven (The Biography of Kurt Cobain), which Steve says is “a gripping and moving book that I couldn’t stop reading.”

For a lighter read, Courtney recommends Mad by Chloe Eposito. She says, “it was just really chaotic and brilliant. The main character Alvi is really manic and just a bit of a disaster. She’s not that likeable but it’s a hilarious, fictitious read. Its unpredictable storyline is super easy to read, a perfect holiday book.”

Reminiscing childhood memories, Sooz recalls how The Queen’s Knickers by Nicholas Allan made bedtime story time fun.

For a book that stays with you a lifetime, Gemma loves Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, “I’ve read it so many times since I was a little. It’s a brilliant coming of age story about four very different sisters pursuing their dreams and aspirations, as well as the challenges they face as they enter womanhood. Now that I’m older reading it again I can appreciate just how ahead of its time it is (written in 1868). Little Women explores the societal pressures and expectations of women – loosely based on Louisa’s own life – pressures that we’re still dealing with today over 150 years later… it’s a brilliant feminist novel.”

And finally, for an educational read, Nick recommends Nosedive by Harold McGee, a book he’s currently reading. “It’s a field guide to the world’s smells which goes into extraordinary detail – molecular breakdown and olfactory ‘tasting’ notes – about the smells of the world around you including those of the human animal. A must read,” urges Nick.

*source: 2021 National Literacy Trust Annual Literacy Survey