The Joy of Reading

Classic British Children’s Book Club and Essay Contest

LA's BEST logo

Below: students at LAX before their flight on Air New Zealand.
View photos from London
Joy of Reading winners at the airport Boarding Plane
Joy of Reading winners at the airport Boarding Plane

Joy of Reading PhotoBritWeek is proud to present the Joy of Reading, a novel project that will inspire students to discover, embrace and explore the wonderful world of reading and creativity. This unique program promoting reading and literacy is presented in partnership with LA’s BEST, a nationally recognized after school enrichment program that serves 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources at 180 elementary schools throughout Los Angeles.

Joy of Reading PhotoAs part of the Joy of Reading, students from eighty-four LA’s BEST sites have formed their own “British Classic Book Clubs” and chosen titles from a long list of children’s classics written by British authors. Books are being read aloud to expose everyone to classic literature, even those children who are not yet fluent readers. In addition, every school participating in the reading program will receive a library of British classic books for their students to read on their own all year long.

LA's BESTAfter reading their selected British classics, each participating student will compete in a contest by writing a three page essay about the character he or she most identifies with, and why. The essays will be judged by a panel that includes British actress and author Jane Seymour, actor and author Henry Winkler, American author Karen B. Winnick, Kathryn Gregory from Air New Zealand (the program’s premier sponsor) and BritWeek Chairman Bob Peirce.

Joy of Reading PhotoA shared Grand Prize will go to the top eight essayists: four girls and four boys who will receive a surprise, all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime to London, with flights provided by Air New Zealand and accommodations at the five-star Athenaeum Hotel. Through the Joy of Reading, thousands of students will have the opportunity to discover a love for literature, and the lives of eight students will be changed forever.

Monday, May 9 Depart LAX on Air New Zealand
Tuesday, May 10 Arrive London Heathrow and check-in at The Athenaeum
Tour of London, courtesy of London Duck Tours
Wednesday, May 11 Meet with London Mayor Boris Johnson
Tour of London Eye
Wizard of Oz, the Musical at the London Palladium
Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe
Thursday, May 12 Visit Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace
Lunch and tour at Harrods
London Marriott Hotel for Afternoon Tea
Evening performance of Shrek the Musical
Friday, May 13 Tower of London tour
Lunch and behind the scenes tour at the London Zoo
Dinner at Babylon at The Roof Gardens
Saturday, May 14 Morning in the park
Lunch at Heathrow before departure for LAX on Air New Zealand

Joy of Reading Sponsors

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About LA’s BEST:

Joy of Reading photoLA's BEST - Better Educated Students for Tomorrow - is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving 28,000 children at 180 elementary schools throughout the City of Los Angeles in the lowest income communities most vulnerable to gangs, violence and crime. Established in 1988, LA’s BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector.

LA’s BEST provides far more than a safe haven for supervision after school, however. It offers exposure to a myriad of enriching opportunities and experiences that participants might not have otherwise. At LA’s BEST, many students experience firsts: they may be introduced to public speaking when presenting projects at the annual science fair, or visit the beach for the very first time on a field trip. They may realize hidden singing talents as part of a choir, or aspire one day to join the NFL after playing flag football. Visit for more information.

LA's Best

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Reading List

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green (1956)
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (1976)
  • Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (1961)
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)
  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green (1953)
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1911)
  • Prince Caspian: Return to Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Robinson Crusoe by Timothy Meies (2003-Children's Version)
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)
London Duck Tours Merlin Entertainment Central Chauffeur Air New Zealand Virgin Limited Edition London Eye Visit London Shrek The Musical Society of London Theatre Wizard of Oz the Musical Hotel Athenaeum Harrods