Reading Well for Teens

Reading Well for Teens

Reading Well for teens supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people between 13 and 18 years old, providing information, advice, and support to help them manage their feelings and cope with tough times.

The books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with young people.

The Reading Well scheme has been developed by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries across England and Wales, with the Books Council of Wales making a selection of books available in Welsh thanks to funding from the Welsh Government.

Among the 20 titles translated into Welsh are Frankie’s World by Aoife Dooley, a graphic novel offering a unique perspective on Autism, told with humour and heart, and Anxiety is Really Strange by Steve Haines and Sophie Standing, an engaging and highly original graphic medicine book, with in-depth analysis of where anxiety comes from, what it means for your body, and how to turn it into something positive.
Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, Helgard Krause, said: “4 in 5 young people reported the pandemic made their mental health worse. Reading Well for teens suggests recommended reading to help young people understand their feelings and boost your confidence. What’s unique about the Reading Well scheme is that all the books have been selected and recommended by experts and that the list is co-created by teens. It’s essential that we ensure these valuable resources are also available in Welsh.”
There are currently four Reading Well lists available, children; common mental health conditions; dementia and young people.

Titles in the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme are available to borrow from public libraries. Health or social care professionals can also recommend the books on prescription as part of an individual’s treatment, or they can be purchased through bookshops, and other websites.


Newsquest and Books Council of Wales joint statement

Newsquest and Books Council of Wales joint statement

Newsquest and Books Council of Wales joint statement – Corgi Cymru

The Books Council of Wales and Newsquest have agreed to end the funding and provision of Welsh-language digital news service Corgi Cymru.

Both parties came to a mutual agreement to propose to close Corgi Cymru’s digital channels at the end of October and allow the service to be wound down over the following month.

One full-time and one part-time role are now at risk and a consultation will be held with affected Newsquest staff, starting today, 19 October.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council, said: “After careful consideration and discussion, the Books Council and Newsquest have agreed that it is in the best interest of both parties to discontinue our funding agreement and close the Corgi Cymru digital news service at the end of October.

“We have been in regular contact with Newsquest over the last few weeks and we are sorry to see Corgi Cymru close, but we do understand that circumstances have changed since the grant was awarded, due to the very challenging current environment. Our thoughts are with the staff who are affected by this decision.”

Gavin Thompson, Regional Editor at Newsquest, said: “We are grateful to the Books Council for its support, which enabled the launch of Corgi Cymru earlier this year. Unfortunately, it became clear that even with Books Council support and given the challenging economic environment, building a new Welsh-language proposition at this time would not be economically sustainable.

“We have been engaged in constructive discussions over the future of the service in recent weeks, following the closure of The National Wales. We will begin a consultation process with affected staff, starting today.”

The Books Council of Wales will announce the process for re-tendering the remainder of the Welsh Language Digital News Service grant funding from 2023 onwards over the coming weeks.

Sporting Stories – Wales in the World Cup 2022

Sporting Stories – Wales in the World Cup 2022

Books Council of Wales joins Welsh Government campaign to ‘take Wales to the World’

As part of Welsh Government’s World Cup Partner Support Fund, the Books Council of Wales is one of 19 organisations getting behind the Wales team as they head for Qatar in November.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced the projects that will promote and celebrate Wales at the tournament. A total of £1.8 million will be shared among 19 projects which aim to project our nation’s values and work to secure a positive and lasting legacy for Wales and Welsh football.

The Books Council of Wales has been awarded funding to deliver free football-themed books to libraries and food banks across Wales, to bring the magic of football to readers and celebrate the Welsh team’s achievements.

Chief Executive of the Books Council, Helgard Krause, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting programme and to use the passion and celebration of Wales’ achievement in the World Cup to ignite a love of reading in young people and help them improve their literacy skills.

Both reading and physical activity have a huge role to play in our health and well-being and Sporting Stories brings both elements together. Whether it’s helping a football fan to discover books they’ll love, or providing some footballing inspiration to encourage participation in football, games and sport, children and young people will be able to choose from a wide selection of football-themed books to enjoy during the World Cup and celebrate Wales’ place in the tournament.”

The Books Council’s Sporting Stories project will provide a selection of recent football-themed books, in both Welsh and English, to local authority libraries and to foodbanks across Wales. The books will be available from the beginning of November and will include a wide range of titles for all reading abilities, from Foundation Phase to adult readers. More information will be available on the Books Council’s website.

In his statement, Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government has established an ambitious and exciting range of activities to make the most of the unique opportunity offered by the Cymru men’s football team’s participation in the FIFA World Cup.

This is the most significant marketing and sports diplomacy opportunity ever presented to the Welsh Government given the profile of the event.

We are determined to capitalise on this historic achievement and deliver real benefits for people here in Wales.”​


Newsquest and Books Council of Wales joint statement

Congratulating Helgard as she joins Gorsedd of the Bards

Congratulations to our Chief Executive, Helgard Krause, as she joins the Gorsedd of the Bards for services to the arts in Wales.

Originally from Pfalz in Germany and multilingual, Helgard has a wealth of experience in publishing both in the UK and internationally.

She came to Wales in 2005 when she started working for the Books Council of Wales as International Sales Officer. She learnt Welsh in order to become the Council’s Head of Sales & Marketing and became fluent within a few months. From 2010–2017 she was Director of University of Wales Press, before returning to the Books Council in 2017 as Chief Executive.

Helgard said: ‘I feel privileged and deeply moved to receive this honour, joining an illustrious circle of bards, writers and other creatives who have contributed so much to the Welsh language and culture. It is a pleasure to be given a platform to further promote the publishing industry in Wales and highlight the importance of books and reading in general.’

Below the Archdruid, Myrddin ap Dafydd welcomes Helgard at the Gorsedd of the Bards ceremony.

Linda Tomos CBE Appointed as Chair, Books Council of Wales

Linda Tomos CBE Appointed as Chair, Books Council of Wales

Linda Tomos CBE appointed as Chair, Books Council of Wales

Linda Tomos has been appointed as the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Books Council of Wales at the Council’s AGM, held on Monday, 25 July. Linda succeeds Professor M. Wynn Thomas, who is retiring after leading the Council for 20 years.

Members also confirmed Rona Aldrich to continue in her role as Vice-Chair of the Books Council, a role she has held since 2015.

Upon her appointment, Linda Tomos said: ‘I look forward to working with my fellow Trustees and the talented staff at the Books Council of Wales to deliver an exciting and ambitious strategy over the next five years, strengthening the sector and reaching new audiences all over Wales.’

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: ‘I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Linda upon her appointment to the role of Chair. I, and Linda’s fellow Trustees, have already benefitted greatly from her contribution as a member of the Board since April 2021 and her support to develop our new strategy for the next five years.

I would also like to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution and support given so generously by Professor M. Wynn Thomas during his 20 years as Chair. His leadership has helped us all to navigate some challenging times to emerge as a stronger organisation and I look forward to working with Linda, Rona and the Board of Trustees to build on his legacy.’

Professor M. Wynn Thomas said: ‘It has been an undiluted pleasure and privilege to serve the Council as its Chair, and to watch it develop into a major national body whose work supports the burgeoning Welsh publishing industry in its entirety.

I am especially indebted to all those officers who have served alongside me, to the entire devoted staff of the Council, and most particularly to the three inspired and inspiring Directors with whom I have worked. Watching them has been an education.

I wish my successor the very best, and can assure her, as she takes the Chair, that the Council goes from strength to strength.’

Linda Tomos is a chartered librarian with over 40 years’ experience in the sector and was the National Librarian for Wales from 2015–2019, leading the National Library in Aberystwyth. She has worked as a senior civil servant within the Welsh Government and was the first Director of CyMAL: Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales. A member of the Gorsedd, Linda was awarded a CBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Welsh culture.

Rona Aldrich joined the Books Council’s Executive Committee in 2011 and was appointed Vice-Chair in 2015. She was Vice-Chair of the Welsh Committee of the National Lottery Community Fund until her retirement in 2021 and is a member of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Advisory Panel. Prior to retiring she was Chief Officer for Libraries, Information and Culture with Conwy County Borough Council.

Professor M. Wynn Thomas was Chair of the Books Council of Wales for twenty years. He is a Professor of English and holds the Emyr Humphreys Chair of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University, and is a specialist in American poetry and in the two literatures of modern Wales. He received the highest honour of the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2000. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and is a founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and its former Vice-President.

The Books Council was established in 1961 to support the publishing industry in Wales.

Its mission is to support the publishing industry in Welsh and English, which it does through grants and providing specialist services and advice to the sector; and to promote Reading for Pleasure which it does through a variety of reading engagement programmes.

It is a charity and is funded partly by Welsh Government through Creative Wales, and partly from the commercial operations of the wholesale book Distribution Centre. This was the Books Council of Wales’ second AGM following its transition in 2021 to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. The Chair and Vice-Chair were appointed following a vote by members of the charity.

Newsquest and Books Council of Wales joint statement

A day of celebrations for young readers from all over Wales


Aberystwyth Arts Centre was full to the rafters with children from all over Wales on 21–23 June when they came to take part in the national rounds of Darllen Dros Gymru and BookSlam, reading competitions organised by the Books Council of Wales for primary school pupils in Wales.

The national rounds are the culmination of months of work and activity on a county level, with the winners of the county rounds progressing to the finals in Aberystwyth. 35 teams competed for the national titles over the three days.

Years 3 and 4 pupils were first to compete in the national round on Tuesday, 21 June. Ysgol Melin Gruffydd, Cardiff, took first place with their discussion of Y Ferch Newydd and a promotional advertisement for Y Crwt yn y Cefn. Ysgol Bro Cernyw, Conwy, came second, and the third prize went to Ysgol Pennant, Powys.

Wednesday, 22 June saw Years 5 and 6 pupils descend on Aberystwyth for their national final, and once again there was strong competition for the top spot. This year’s award was won by Ysgol Bro Cernyw, Conwy, for their discussion of Dyddiadur Dripsyn: Oes yr Arth a’r Blaidd and their promotional advert for Dirgelwch y Dieithryn. Ysgol Pant Pastynog, Denbighshire, came second, with Ysgol Henry Richard, Ceredigion, taking the third prize.

As part of the activities, the pupils and their teachers also enjoyed sessions with author Caryl Lewis.

Thursday was the day of the BookSlam final in which Llandysilio CiW School, Powys, were awarded the first prize, with their discussion of The Black Pit of Tonypandy and their promotional advert for Where the Wilderness Lives. Cardiff’s Ysgol y Wern came second, and Ysgol Sychdyn, Flintshire, came third.

As part of the day’s activities, author Medi Jones-Jackson held sessions with the pupils and teachers to launch her new book, Wondrous Women of Wales.

This year, Morgan Dafydd judged the Darllen Dros Gymru discussions, Liz Kennedy judged the BookSlam discussions and Lleucu Siôn judged the promotional adverts for both competitions.

Helen Jones, Head of the Children’s Books and Reading Promotion Department, said: ‘Our reading competitions offer children an invaluable experience of reading and discussing books with their peers. They can use their imaginations, analyse a book’s contents and have their say on the events and characters. We must thank the regional organisers for their hard work and dedication to the competition and the county rounds, and the teachers and all those who ensure the competition’s success every year.’

Thanks to the kindness of several publishers, every child who took part in the national rounds chose a free book to take home with them.