Downing Street has welcomed 30 schoolchildren to share a story to celebrate World Book Day, taking place today (7th March), whilst astronaut Tim Peake is marking the day with a video encouraging children to read.
The children visiting 10 Downing Street earlier this week spent the morning reading and drawing along with authors and illustrators Abi Elphinstone, Sibéal Pounder, Rob Biddulph and Alex T Smith and Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
Commenting on World Book Day and the event at Number 10, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “World Book Day gives us an opportunity to encourage a love of reading and a love of books that can last a lifetime. That’s why today I’m delighted to support this year’s World Book Day which is inspiring children, parents and carers to sit down, open a book and share a story together.”
Peake, in his video, encourages children to read and share stories for 10 minutes every day. He says: “Hello and happy World Book Day to everyone. Sharing stories together, anywhere, anytime, for just 10 minutes a day can help create a love of reading for life and discover wonderful worlds, amazing adventures and fantastic characters… So share a story and enjoy reading together for 10 minutes today and every day.”
To mark this year’s celebrations, authors and celebrities will take part in events across the UK. The Duchess of Cornwall is visiting a primary school in London to share one of the World Book Day titles with the pupils and meet the school’s ‘reading heroes’.
World Book Day authors and illustrators including Frank Cottrell Boyce, Sibeal Pounder, Alex T Smith, Abi Elphinstone and Rob Biddulph are all lined-up to take part in events and authors and public figures like Kate Mosse, Esther Freud, Gary Barlow and Anton du Beke will share the ‘Share a Story’ message on social media.
WBD also has partnerships with family brands, including The Premier League, which is running pop-up bookshops in 45 football clubs with WHSmith, the National Trust, Clarks, Royal Mail, Pizza Express and Wagamama.
Kirsten Grant, director of World Book Day, called on parents and carers to make reading the focal point of today’s events: ‘We know that a love of reading can transform a child’s future, helping them to do well at school, get a good job and live a happy and successful life. We are calling on parents and carers everywhere to put reading together at the heart of their World Book Day activities this year. Whether your children are dressed up today or not, sit down with them for ten minutes on World Book Day, and every day – and share a story.”
Book supplier The Bertram Group is orgnanising a ‘book drop’ that will see staff deliver books to children in the local area and charitable organisation The Morrisons Foundation is working with the National Literacy Trust to donate more than 7,300 brand new books to primary schools across the UK.
In terms of events, Brighton Festival is launching this Year’s Young City Reads on World Book day with a refugee-themed workshop in partnership with the charity Crisis Classroom, and Kidzania is running workshops with authors and editors.
The Roald Dahl Story company is bringing WBD to a close tonight by showing a recording from the cast of Matilda The Musical tonight. The video will be screened via the company’s and WBD’s social media channels. The company will also offer one child the chance to win a holiday to New York.