A SCOTTISH charity is to give free books to children and families relying on food banks this winter.

Scottish Book Trust unveiled its plans on Wednesday as it made an urgent appeal for funds this Christmas, as the charity said the rising cost of living meant more and more children did not have books at home.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the trust, said: “Christmas is looking very stark for so many families across Scotland.”

“Access to books is essential for a child’s development. Without books at home, children are missing out and we know the impact of this lasts a lifetime,” he said.

“The simple pleasure of owning a book can make a huge difference in children’s lives, bringing comfort, escapism and togetherness in families.”

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More than half of parents said books were too expensive, the charity reported, but research by the organisation found 85% of parents from Scotland’s poorest areas said reading helped them bond with their child and that reading made their children happy.

And 95% of Scottish parents said they thought it was important for children to own their own books.

The cash raised in the appeal will help the charity give books to families via food banks and community hubs.

Lambert said: “Every family deserves a little magic at Christmas and donations to our appeal will be helping Scottish Book Trust deliver more vital work to support those most in need this Christmas.”

Judith Kerr’s Mog The Forgetful Cat will feature as part of the appeal, which the charity said will underline the nostalgia, magic, and escapism that books could give children.