Queen’s Jubilee children’s book poorly received by schools in Wales and Scotland | Children and teenagers
The Platinum Jubilee children’s book due to be distributed to all state primary school pupils to celebrate the Queen this month will not be welcome in all Welsh or Scottish schools.
At the request of the Scottish and Welsh Governments, schools in these areas will instead be asked to agree to receive copies.
The book was originally due to be in schools in the coming weeks, before Jubilee weekend next month, and was due to be available in the main regional languages, including Gaelic and Welsh.
New details and images from the book released on Sunday reveal the tale will focus on the adventures of a little girl called Isabella, who visits her great-grandmother and discovers many highlights of the Queen’s 70-year reign Elizabeth II.
Written in collaboration with royal experts and historians, the book includes famous quotes from the Queen, facts about the coronation ceremony and anecdotes from the lives of famous Commonwealth figures, such as Nelson Mandela. It also contains information on notable kings and queens and a timeline of Queen Elizabeth’s own life.
The UK government has reportedly awarded a £12million contract to London publisher DK Books to produce 211,000 bilingual copies of the book for distribution to children in just under 3,000 schools and educational establishments in Wales.
But after seeing the first few pages, members of the Welsh Government felt it would not be appropriate to distribute it to all pupils.
Instead, they asked in March to leave it to the schools to request their copies. He was described as having took an Anglocentric line which did not take due account of the history of the devolved regions of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Government ministers are said to have been appalled at the Welsh government’s initial reaction to their plans, especially as the book explains how the four nations came together as one UK, including some pages on the Welsh rebellion in Owain Glyndwr against the English in 1400 to take the title of “Prince of Wales”.
The book traces British history through the memories of Great Grandmother Joyce. When Isabella arrives at Joyce’s house, she discovers a treasure chest of memorabilia that becomes her guide to the history of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Memories in the box invite descriptions of the lives of inspiring people, significant artistic, design and cultural achievements, as well as landmark innovations and inventions. These include the construction of the Channel Tunnel, the election of Margaret Thatcher – the first female Prime Minister – and the creation of the World Wide Web.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, and Her Majesty’s dignity, commitment and grace continue to inspire people everywhere.
“I hope all of our students are as excited as I am to read about Her Majesty’s incredible life and the people and events that have shaped history over the past 70 years.” The book will also be on private sale from June 23.