Manchester-based social enterprise, The Prologue, is set to gift all children and schools in the UK free personalised stories in an altruistic attempt to drastically improve literacy.
Written by Luke Swann, the award-winning educationalist, published children’s author and director of The Prologue, 'The Secret Book of I' is the first personalised story to be offered for free, the first to be used as an educational tool and the first to tackle lack of diversity in children's literature. The story is available to all children, teachers and parents online as a free e-book; or to purchase as a paperback, which includes a 'Donate a Book' initiative where any individual can purchase a physical copy for children who have faced harsh difficulties, meaning they can cherish their own magical book for life. The Prologue will be the first to donate these books, via partnered children's charities, before it is then open to the public to give.
Since it’s initiation in 2017, The Prologue has won two UnLtd awards, in addition to one from The Business Group, with its director also being shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur Award of the Year 2017 for Innovation and the BQ Emerging Entrepreneur of The Year Award for 2017. The Prologue's most recent grant of £5000 enables them to avoid charging parents and schools for their empowering personalised stories that they hope will inspire a generation.
Luke Swann said:
"The Secret Book of I' is incredibly grand in scope, immensely intricate in composition and is the first story of its kind. When children read the book, they see a version of themselves journeying through a gripping narrative about their own destiny, which makes them think 'That's me!' We’ve found that this brings about a vast ocean of meaning, motivation and magic within them.
"The responses from children and academics alike have really spurred me on in what has been a difficult year for me personally, having lost my close friend, my father-figure and having spent most nights sleeping on a sofa."
In just one year, the ambitious, unpaid director and a team of over 50 volunteers and contributors have delivered workshops, author visits and helped support multiple children’s charities and organisations, alongside the publishing of their debut children’s book.
The book, which gives children the option to tailor their own story based on their name, ethnicity, gender, hometown, parent(s)/caregiver(s) and best friend(s), is the most personalised story to date, in part inspired by findings in social learning theory that state that children learn more from models they perceive to be more similar to themselves. The strong attention to detail in 'The Secret Book of I' taps into these findings to truly inspire young readers.
The Great British Entrepreneur Awards team said: “A publishing director, author and educationalist, Luke Swann’s innovation as an entrepreneur is guided by his first-hand experiences of poverty, academia and a desire to improve the well-being of future generations. His award-winning company, The Prologue, produces e-books that use personalised stories to promote education and creativity in children.”
UnLtd, the social change charity who awarded the recent grant, said: “With social and economic inequality growing in the UK, more people than ever are using innovative and sustainable business solutions to help drive social change.
“Whether they are providing jobs, improving the lives of people in later life, or making a positive making a positive impact in the places where they live and work, these social entrepreneurs put social purpose at the heart of what they do, ahead of financial gain”.
About The Prologue: Formed in June 2017, The Prologue is a publishing and education movement for children, seeking to truly empower children, nurture their well-being and develop their global thinking beyond.
The Prologue has the vision of becoming the largest ever free World Education System. Presently, they use story to inspire whilst being a Centre of Support and Opportunity for children and all those working with them. This comes in the form of free creative workshops, author visits, empowering talks and an engaging educational presence on social media.
About Luke Swann: Strongly motivated by his experiences of poverty as a child in Manchester and Oldham. Finishing sixth form, he became a maths teacher at his old secondary school whilst being an SEN supervisor at his old primary school, before going on to become the first person in his school's 40 year history to attend Oxbridge - where he studied Mathematic at The University of Cambridge. Transferring to The University of Bristol, Luke became a journalist whilst studying Experimental Psychology, which he graduated in, soon after becoming a published children's author.