A strong sense of ethics is intrinsic to most great children’s books, so to us, taking our responsibilities seriously seems obvious: more than that, it is central to everything we do. As a publisher of over 300 books a year in the UK alone – never mind our sister companies Walker Australia and Candlewick in the USA – we’re particularly aware of our impact on the environment and have always done everything we can to ensure that impact is a positive, not a negative one. Here are some of the ways in which we are working.
• Walker has a long history of supporting children’s charities. There’s a staff Give As You Earn scheme and we hold a number of fundraising events every year, including coffee mornings and craft fairs. Employees, authors and artists often take part in marathons and other sporting events, sponsored by the company and by staff.
• For our 30th Anniversary, Walker made 2010 the Year of Giving. As part of the celebrations, staff raised money for Walker’s chosen charity - the National Literacy Trust - and we were proud, amazed and delighted at the end of the year to find that we had reached our target of £30,000! This was huge achievement for a small company, and we did it in several ways:
- Taking part in the National Literacy Trust Where’s Wally? Dash, a Santa Dash and two half marathons!
- Organising cake sales and book and craft sales throughout the year.
- Holding book sales for Barclays staff at Canary Wharf.
• Throughout 2010 Walker Books partnered with the Readathon charity in a nationwide events programme featuring many of our greatest writers and artists. Walker and Readathon invited 30 schools and libraries to share in our 30th Anniversary celebrations by offering 30 free author events across the country.
We have a long term association with Book Aid International, a company dedicated to supporting access to books, literacy, education and development in sub Saharan Africa. We also donate books to our local schools as well as supporting as many national requests for raffle prizes and charity donations.
Reading at Vauxhall Primary
Since 2000, a group of Walker volunteers have been reading with children at the local school, Vauxhall Primary. The volunteers work in pairs, giving up half an hour every other week to read with an individual child over a year. It’s a very rewarding experience on both sides: the children’s reading is remarkably improved and Walker staff learn invaluable lessons about reading development which feed into their publishing.
Sebastian Walker Award
In 2011 we launched the Sebastian Walker Award for new illustration. Established to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of our founder, Sebastian Walker, the award is run in collaboration with the fantastic MA course in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, and is presented annually to the most promising graduate.
Through the award, we have discovered a wealth of outstanding new illustration talent, and we've loved working with the winners to create fresh new picture books to share with children everywhere. Since the inaugural award, we have gone on to work with eleven Cambridge graduates who have sold books in over fourteen countries worldwide. Find out more about the Sebastian Walker Award and previous winners at www.sebastianwalkeraward.com