Michael Morpurgo, Sharna Jackson and Matt Lucas are among the authors on the list of World Book Day's £1 books for 2022.
The next World Book Day will be the charity's 25th anniversary and will feature a particular focus on reaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them discover a love for reading. The charity will also highlight the importance of all children having the opportunity to own and be inspired by inclusive stories, and will partner with BookTrust and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell on a special edition of their #PassthePen campaign. This will see World Book Day legacy authors paired with up-and-coming writers and illustrators of colour.
The 2022 illustrator will be Allen Fatimaharan, best known for bringing the Llama Out Loud books to life. This year's WBD will have both digital events and live experiences.
For younger readers, WBD books include Hey Duggee: The World Book Day Badge (Ladybird); Rocket Rules: Ten Little Ways to Think Big! by Nathan Bryon and illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Puffin) and Dinosaur Roar and Friends! by Jeanne Willis and Peter Curtis (Macmillan Children’s Books).
Joining them on the line-up are Grimwood: Five Freakishly Funny Fables by Nadia Shireen (Simon & Schuster), Jemima the Pig and the 127 Acorns by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins Children’s Books), The Worst Class in the World in Danger! by Joanna Nadin, illustrated by Rikin Parekh (Bloomsbury), and My Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book of True or False by Matt Lucas, illustrated by Sarah Horne (Farshore).
Other titles include Peak Peril: A High-rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (Knights Of), Think Like a Boss: Discover the Skills That Turn Great Ideas into CASH by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Adam Hayes (Hachette Children’s Group), and The Wizard and Me: More Misadventures of Bubbles the Guinea Pig by Simon Farnaby, illustrated by Claire Powell (Hachette Children’s Group).
The Last Word by Ben Bailey Smith (Bloomsbury) and Boy, Missing by Sophie McKenzie (Simon & Schuster) complete the line-up. There will be an additional £1 Welsh-language book available only in Wales, which will be confirmed by the Books Council of Wales in due course. In Ireland readers can also get their hands on Deadly! Irish History: Fun with the Celts and the Vikings! by John Farrelly (The O’Brien Press).
Morpurgo said: "World Book Day is a moment when we sound the trumpets for books and children, bringing children to books and books to children... World Book Day have been doing this now for 25 years and it's made a huge difference. There are many kids who do not have so many books at home. This is a wonderful way for children to access and enjoy books, and I'm delighted to be involved in 2022."
Jackson added: "I'm so thrilled to be one of World Book Day's authors for 2022—it's a dream come true. I absolutely love World Book Day and everything they do; they work really hard to get books into the hands of children who need them the most, opening up imaginations and opening up worlds."
World Book Day c.e.o. Cassie Chadderton told The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference on 22nd September that the process behind choosing the line-up had changed recently with the introduction of selection guidance to publishers pitching books and a panel which decides what goes forward.
She said this boiled down to “what would encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book maybe for the first time and enjoy it and read it all the way through” and is “very much about what we think children might like to see” featuring well-known names and brands as well as books they think children will love and will also encourage them to read more widely. This year’s line up also features some non-fiction, which Chadderton said she was “most proud of”.
Chadderton told the conference the charity’s mission now felt "even more relevant than it did before” because “it was really clear that the lockdown was leading to real challenges for children and young people leading to further economic and educational disadvantage".
Although access to bookshops and retailers was “severely compromised” the charity was still able to send out tokens to vulnerable and key worker children in schools, and produced its first digital token for those being home-schooled. All events were put online and saw “a massive uptake” in people taking part. Bookshops were also “endlessly innovative” with many organising deliveries to schools or pop-up events in playgrounds.
Engaging teenagers and older children remains a challenge and Chadderton said the charity has been funded by the Arts Council to do a piece of research, specifically looking at older children, and what might encourage them to become readers.
The charity is working with the National Literacy Trust to speak to older children to find out the role reading plays in their lives, particularly those who do not see themselves as readers, in order to work out a version of World Book Day, or another activity, that can help persuade older children “that reading is something that they want to pick up and try and do and bring more into their lives.”
She said this is a “work in progress” with many books competing with screen-based entertainment and increased school work as teenagers come up to their GCSE exams.
However, Chadderton noted: “We know that if children have already got that habit as a reader they will come back to reading later but this is about making sure we’re encouraging teens who just haven’t got it yet to think about reading as something that they can do for themselves.”
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