New story by Michael Morpurgo for Waitrose Christmas Advert
Waitrose gives new book to every primary school in UK and a contribution to homelessness charity

Waitrose is proud to announce the launch of a book inspired by the supermarket’s Christmas advert, written by one of the UK’s best loved authors, Michael Morpurgo. Waitrose will also be giving a copy of the book to each of the 30,000 primary schools in the UK*.

‘Coming Home’ tells the story of the plucky robin featured in the new Waitrose Christmas TV campaign; the illustrated children’s book will be available in all Waitrose shops, and selected independent book retailers.

Famous for his much-loved stories including War Horse, Kensuke’s Kingdom and The Butterfly Lion, Michael Morpurgo has worked with Waitrose to create a heart-warming and action-packed story, published by David Fickling Books. The book features illustrations created by Kerry Hyndman, the artist behind the charming pictures which can be currently be seen on Waitrose shop displays and on the supermarket’s own festive ranges.

The story of ‘Coming Home’ follows the migration of a young Scandinavian robin on an eventful journey across mountains and oceans before he finally reaches home. Encountering storms and wild predators during his gruelling voyage across vast landscapes, the robin is finally reunited with his feathered companion at home. They both enjoy a festive treat in the garden, left by a young girl who has eagerly awaited the robin's annual return.

Rupert Thomas, Waitrose marketing director, says: ‘We are honoured that Michael Morpurgo, one of Britain’s best-loved authors, has enriched the story of our advert with his beautiful writing. The messages of bravery, family and home are powerful and we hope they will touch the hearts of everyone who reads the book."

Michael Morpurgo, says, ‘A robin redbreast in the garden is a common enough sight at Christmas time. We love to see them. Until I wrote this story I thought robins lived all year round in our gardens. Some do. But some travel hundreds of miles from the North, over snowy mountains and stormy oceans, to winter in our gardens. And often they are coming home, back to the very same garden where they were born. Like them, so many of us make the long journey home for Christmas. So this Christmas, look out for a robin. We have more in common than we realise.’

Michael Morpurgo will today visit his former primary school, St Cuthberts and St Matthias in Earls Court, London to hand deliver the first copy of his book to pupils there and to read his story.

The book will be accompanied by an education pack, with six lesson plans focussing around the key themes of the story. Science, reading, writing, literacy and social skills are all subjects covered by lessons in the pack, which is aimed at Key Stage 2 level children. The pack has been created by a primary school teacher, and features activities such as making a robin seed cake, map drawing and writing personal versions of the ‘Coming Home’ story.

The book will be available in Waitrose shops priced at £5, with 50p of each copy sold at the supermarket being donated to Crisis, the national charity for homeless people. Michael Morpurgo has generously donated his entire fee for the book to Farms for City Children.

In addition to the book, Waitrose shops will be providing a fun trail game for children to follow. By picking up a map at the Welcome Desk, families can be in with a chance to win prizes by correctly following the ‘Coming Home’ themed trail.

Notes to editors:
*excluding Northern Ireland

For more information, and a video of Michael Morpurgo reading ‘Come Home’ please visit waitrose.com/homeforchristmas
The education pack can be found online at waitrose.com/cominghome

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