Queen tells children ‘the more books you read, the more you’re going to learn’ as she opens new school library

The Coronation Libraries Project has revitalised library spaces in 50 primary schools across the UK in communities facing low literacy rates

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Tuesday 07 May 2024 21:38 BST
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Queen tells schoolchildren 'The more you read, the more you learn'

The Queen opened a new school library as she told excited pupils reading will open doors and make a “huge difference” for them in life.

Camilla told children at Moreland Primary School in Islington, London, “the more books you read, the more you’re going to learn”.

The royal’s proud history of contributions to literacy initiatives was honoured through the opening of the library and part of the Coronation Libraries Project.

The project has revitalised library spaces in 50 primary schools across the UK in communities facing low literacy rates, significant economic challenges and a lack of access to books both at home and in school, especially for children.

The Queen opened a new school library at Moreland Primary School
The Queen opened a new school library at Moreland Primary School (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

The Queen added: “You’re really lucky to have such a beautiful library and I hope you’re going to enjoy reading all the books, because the more books you read the more you’re going to learn.

“The more you’re going to learn the more you’re going to get on in life.

“It’s so important to keep reading, and I think having a library like this makes a huge difference to all of you here.

“Good luck and keep reading.”

Queen Camilla is greeted by pupils in the courtyard of the school
Queen Camilla is greeted by pupils in the courtyard of the school (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)
The Coronation Libraries Project has revitalised library spaces in 50 primary schools across the UK
The Coronation Libraries Project has revitalised library spaces in 50 primary schools across the UK (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

The library is stocked with 300 brand new books which includes the Chase Coronation Collection, featuring the top 23 children’s books as selected by UK primary school children in honour of the 2023 coronation where Camilla was crowned alongside her husband, the King.

During Tuesday’s visit, the Queen joined children in the school’s assembly hall as they listened to stories told by British-Sierra Leonean rapper and storyteller Alim Kamara, the founder of the storytelling company Storie Storie.

Mr Kamara said the Queen praised him as “an excellent storyteller” and commended his ability to keep all the children “gripped in their seats”.

In the library, Camilla and pupil ambassadors heard a recital of the poem One Thousand Libraries by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho.

Queen Camilla and pupils listen to Waterstones Children's Laureate and poet Joseph Coelho reading a poem in the library
Queen Camilla and pupils listen to Waterstones Children's Laureate and poet Joseph Coelho reading a poem in the library (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

Mr Coelho said: “I had the lovely opportunity of talking to Her Majesty about how she reads to her grandchildren and about the importance of poems and books. It was really lovely to share that passion with her.”

Camilla also joined a roundtable discussion chaired by Bloomberg News anchor Tom Mackenzie. Bloomberg supported 25 of the 50 libraries as part of the Coronation Libraries Project.

The entire school gathered in the playground as the Queen enjoyed a performance by the school choir, while pupils waved flags decorated with drawings of their favourite book characters, before she said farewell.

The children told Camilla she was “beautiful, capable, and awesome” while one child said she was “excited” and vowed never to wash her hands again after shaking hands with the Queen.

The Queen complimented one child, remarking that “someone has been practising their curtsies” and said that it was a “pleasure” to visit the school.

Moreland Primary School’s library marks the significant milestone of being the 1,000th transformed through the Libraries for Primaries campaign.

Launched in 2021 by the National Literacy Trust and Penguin Books, the campaign unites charities, publishers, and businesses to tackle the lack of investment in primary school libraries,

A pupil takes a peak as he waits for Queen Camilla
A pupil takes a peak as he waits for Queen Camilla (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)
Precious (second right) 10, and Joanne, 10, are overjoyed to see the Queen
Precious (second right) 10, and Joanne, 10, are overjoyed to see the Queen (Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

Catherine Lawrence, headteacher at Moreland Primary School, said: “We were honoured to receive Her Majesty Queen Camilla today to open our fantastic new library space and hear first-hand from pupils about their passion for reading.

“This new chapter for our library is a momentous occasion for our school and community.

“Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and the library will cement our aim to not only empower every child with the tools they need to succeed, but also foster a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.

“Access to books at home is limited for many of our children; this new library gives families the opportunity to share the joy of books together, regardless of their background or circumstance.”

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