Tonies on board with Life-changing Libraries initiative

Published on: 5th May 2021

The company has donated Tonieboxes and Tonies to Life-changing Libraries, Cressida Cowell’s flagship project as Waterstones Children’s Laureate.

Helping to bring new ways of learning and developing literacy skills to children in primary school libraries across the country, Tonies has gifted Toniebox storytelling audio devices to the Life-changing Libraries project. Launched by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell MBE,  bestselling author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon series, Life-changing Libraries is set to showcase the transformative impact a well-resourced primary school library has on a child’s opportunities in life, alongside the vast inequality currently facing children across England.

“Tonies is committed to helping children through the power and magic of storytelling,” commented Pinky Laing, UK Partnerships at Tonies. “We are delighted to help support Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and BookTrust with such an important education project for England’s most underprivileged communities.”

The project was announced in April, alongside publication of an open letter from Cressida Cowell to PM Boris Johnson, calling for the government to help reverse the spiralling inequality in education, by putting primary school libraries at the heart of its long-term response to the pandemic with a ring-fenced, yearly investment of £100m.

Following this, six primary schools across England will be helped to develop a reading for pleasure culture, with the support of BookTrust. The project will spotlight the four pillars of a successful, gold-standard school library, with space, book provision, expertise and whole-school and parent involvement. Each school will have a dedicated library space created by BookTrust and the sponsors of the campaign, stocked with Tonieboxes and 1000 book titles.

The Tonieboxes will allow children in the six schools taking part  to enjoy some of the nation’s favourite stories in audio, such as Elmer and Peter Rabbit. The donation aims to stimulate children’s imagination through the power of audio storytelling, which has been proven to support literacy in early years, helping to foster a lifelong love of stories in even the most reluctant of readers.

Pinky Laing added: “We feel fortunate that we can help inspire the next generation to learn and develop literacy skills. The donation to the project is one of many moves that Tonies will be making over the next year to help children’s development and learning. We will also be launching an education page for schools on our website next month as part of our efforts to further improve education and learning within schools.”

Diana Gerald, CEO at BookTrust, commented: “It is impossible to overstate the life-changing impact that stories have on a child’s life prospects, their mental health, wellbeing, self-esteem, educational achievement and so much more. Reading opens up a world of new possibilities for children and develops aspiration, with research showing that it can drive social mobility and mitigate the effect of social inequality. As custodians of the prestigious Waterstone Children’s Laureate role, BookTrust is delighted to be supporting Cressida’s Life-changing Libraries initiative, and helping develop new library spaces that inspire a long-standing reading for pleasure culture within these six selected schools.”

For further details on the initiative, visit and to support the campaign on social media, follow #LifeChangingLibraries.



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