The organisers of World Book Day are to roll out an online programme of events, including YouTube readings featuring WBD £1 book authors, to celebrate this year's digital iteration.
The events will take place from 1st February, leading up to the official day on Thursday 4th March.
The website will host the Authors & Illustrators Academy, offering a suite of tutorial videos from the authors and illustrators. Activity sheets and discussion guides for teachers, parents and carers will also be available.
Then running from 3rd to 5th March, the programme will feature a "Share a Story Live" events programme, with Humza Arshad, Alex Bellos, Sita Brahmachari, Joseph Coelho, Jonny Duddle, Tom Fletcher, Jess French, Fiona Lumbers, Ben Lyttleton, Zanib Mian, Lydia Monks and Katherine Rundell, plus motivational speaker Kenny Baraka, TV presenter Nigel Clarke and actor, comedian and writer Jessie Cave.
A programme of "Share a Story" YouTube readings, featuring World Book Day authors, champions, and influencers (still to be confirmed) will also be unrolled from 1st March, alongside book clubs for ages 5+ and 9+ and a "Share a Story Corner" for early readers.
Meanwhile participants will be invited to join in a mass online campaign, which will see World Book Day champions, authors and children and families post photos of themselves sharing a story together on social media channels, from 1st March onwards.
The organisation's c.e.o. Cassie Chadderton said: “World Book Day tackles book poverty and brings the joy of books and shared reading to children and families. Social inequalities – economic and educational – have become more exposed this year, and World Book Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate reading for pleasure, an activity that makes a huge and positive difference to our children’s futures. After everything that children have experienced this year World Book Day’s mission is more relevant than it has ever been.”
Families will be able to use their WBD tokens in lockdown or save them for later use when bookshops reopen, and WBD will continue to work with schools and nurseries to distribute the £1 book tokens. The tokens are valid for use from 18th February, and this year participating bookshops will honour tokens beyond 28th March.
The scheme also includes a new single-use digital version of the £1 token, to be printed at home or shown to booksellers on a phone or tablet screen, with registration for the token open from 1st February. Paper copies will also feature on McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes through February and March, and in some children’s magazines. This year's WBD partners include McDonald’s, Royal Mail and the Beano, with more partners to be announced.