Erik Edman is one of the Premier League footballers championing an innovative literacy campaign aimed at encouraging families to read together.
The scheme, Premier League Reading Stars, will see one player from each Premier League Club nominate their favourite adult or children’s book to create a list of their favourite reads.
Launched on International Children’s Book Day, the programme, a partnership between the Football Foundation, the National Literacy Trust, the Premier League and the Arts Council England, will be supported by a series of family reading groups at libraries across the country.
Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport backed the initiative saying: "Our public libraries are a great asset to communities throughout the country which are sometimes overlooked. These footballers, through this scheme, are opening the door to family reading and improved literacy by showing that books of all different types are fun and accessible. Anything that gets more people reading and using their local library is positive and goes to show what can be achieved when organisations such as the Premier League, the Football Foundation and the National Literacy Trust work together."
Children taking part in the scheme select free books to keep and there are incentives provided by all 20 Premier League Clubs to encourage attendance and achievement, including ground tours, match tickets and the opportunity to meet the Club Reading Champion.
Erik's book selection is Ramses by Christian Jacq and he insists that books are a vital tool in the learning process.
"A friend of mine at my old club had read it and he really recommended it to me," reported the Swedish full-back. "I bought the book and couldn't put it down - and I was definitely not a big reader before then. This is a sign of a good book!
"It is about an Egyptian Pharaoh who grows up and learns how to rule from his father. He has enemies - his brother is the biggest - and it is about his whole life. For those aged probably 12 and above it is an ideal read and I warmly recommend it.
"Reading is so important, when I was young my parents always read to me before I went to bed and you learn so much from books."
Our former player Stephen Clemence chose Roald Dahl’s classic book The Twits as his favourite read. "Having just become a Dad for the first time one of the things I am looking forward to is reading with my son and I used to love the Twits when I was a kid and I am sure he will too," said the Birmingham City reading star. "I used to laugh out loud at the description of the cornflakes in Mr Twit's beard."