More than 25 of world’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators have called on G8 leaders to step up their efforts to tackle hunger around the world.

The campaign comes just ten days before a global nutrition summit in London and references Save the Children's latest research, which shows that chronically malnourished children are 20% less literate than those with a healthier diet, and less able to read or write a simple sentence.

The research, included in Save the Children’s latest report Food for Thought, shows for the first time the extent to which a child’s brain can be permanently damaged if they don’t receive the right nutrition in their first two years.

Julia Donaldson, the Children’s Laureate and author of the bestselling book The Gruffalo, said: "The devastating impact of malnutrition shouldn’t be underestimated. It stunts a child’s development, sapping the strength of their minds as well of their body, depriving them of the chance to be able to read or write a simple sentence.

“Leaders attending this summit have a golden opportunity to stop this. They must invest more funding to tackle malnutrition if we are to stop a global literacy famine.”

The authors and illustrators backing the campaign are:
• Axel Scheffler – illustrator of The Gruffalo
• Ally Kennan – Beast
• Brian Selsnick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
• Cath Cassidy – The Chocolate Box Girls
• Celia Rees – Witch Child
• Cressida Cowell – How to train your dragon
• Charlie Higson – Young Bond
David Walliams – Mr Stink
• Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl
• Elen Caldecott – The Great Ice Cream Heist
• Emily Gravett – Wolves
• Elizabeth Laird – The Witching Hour
• Fransesca Simon – Horrid Henry
• Georgia Byng – Molly Moon
• John Boyne – Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
• Julia Donaldson – The Gruffalo
• Lydia Monks – The Singing Mermaid
• Michael Morpurgo – War Horse
• Michael Bond – Paddington Bear
• Nicholas Lake – Hostage Three
• Oliver Jeffers – Lost and Found
• Peter Dickinson – The Flight of Dragons
Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials
• Rebecca Cobb – the illustrator of The Paper Dolls
• Rod Campbell – Dear Zoo
• Sheena Wilkinson – Taking Flight
• Tony Ross – illustrator of Horrid Henry

World leaders are gathering on 8 June at a global summit on nutrition hosted by David Cameron where they could provide the necessary funding to transform the lives of millions of children affected by malnutrition.

Despite being one of the most cost-effective forms of development assistance, spending on nutrition programmes currently amounts to just 0.3% of global development spending.

Save the Children UK Chief Executive Justin Forsyth said: "No child should be so badly malnourished that they are left permanently damaged, struggling to read or write a simple sentence.

“We have made huge progress tackling child mortality globally, but hunger is an Achilles’ heel and threatens to drag back progress. World leaders attending the summit must step up to tackle hunger.”

On the day of the nutrition summit, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend a mass rally in Hyde Park as part of anti-hunger campaign Enough Food for Everyone IF.

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