Full of character
Why, writes Julie Lucas, the 21st World Book Day could be the most memorable yet
ON March 1, as you head out in the morning, you may see Where’s Wally. He may be accompanied by Pippi Longstocking and, down the street, Roald Dahl’s Matilda will be skipping to school. It’s on this day that children bring their favourite storybook characters to life for World Book Day.
This year the charity marks 21 years. The mission is simple: to celebrate reading for pleasure and encourage children and young people to read and love books. During the past 20 years World Book Day UK has distributed over 275 million £1 book tokens, and over 1.2 million £1 book tokens were redeemed last year, enabling one in four children to buy their first book and raising £650,000 for charity.
The idea came from Baroness Gail Rebuck in response to concern about reading standards in children. Today it has become a global phenomenon and, according to director Kirsten Grant, is as important today as ever. “It’s about creating readers for the future by igniting a love of books and reading,” she says. “Children’s books are doing incredibly well at the moment and we really are experiencing a golden age.”
This year 11 titles are being released to appeal to all ages including the young adult market.
The impact is clear: bonding with your child, opening up a world of imagination and increased literacy
The £1 books, free when redeemed against the World Book Day token, include BBC’s Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, who has penned Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, and presenter Clare Balding’s The Girl Who Thought She Was A Dog. Favourites Mr Men, Paddington and Marvel’s The Avengers are also releasing mini books especially to mark the event. Grant says that although children are spending more time than ever before online, there is still a love of reading physical books over reading ebooks. The impact that reading has is clear; bonding with your child, opening up a world of imagination and increased literacy. “We want to encourage guardians, parents, grandparents, siblings and friends to ‘Share a Story’ by reading together, for just 10 minutes a day,” Grant says. “By doing this, they should see the positive impact that reading together can have not only on a child’s life outcome, but on those who are sharing a story with children too.”
According to studies carried out by the BookTrust, children who read for pleasure are likely to do better at school, as well as be more socially, culturally and emotionally prepared for life. A 2015 study showed that reading enjoyment was more important for a child’s educational success than their family’s financial or social status.
Grant adds: “This is why we need as many parents and children to use their £1 book token in 2018. It is a passport that will unlock new worlds.”
World Book Day at West Lynn Primary School