Snow blights World Book Day celebrations but tour goes ahead

Snow blights World Book Day celebrations but tour goes ahead

World Book Day organisers have said all events for the Biggest Book Show on Earth tour will go ahead despite the snow, although some authors have had to cancel their school appearances.

The met office has issued weather alerts across the UK and Ireland as Storm Emma brings snow, wind and travel warnings but a spokesperson for the World Book Day said the tour, which is due to appear today in Doncaster, tomorrow in Brighton and Saturday in Newcastle, is going ahead. Earlier shows in Dublin, Oswestry and Aberystwyth all took place.

However, some authors and illustrators have cancelled their school events because of the adverse conditions. Lydia Monks said there is “no chance” she will be able to get to her school events in London today, whilst John Dougherty said he didn’t want to risk the travel.

Schoolgirls Maya, Cara and Lola, dressed as Boudicca, Audrey Hepburn and Nefertiti for the launch of Rebel Girls 2

“The school is open and was happy to have me, but I didn’t want to put myself at risk of getting there and back,” he said. “Yesterday’s was also postponed due to closure.” He has rescheduled and will visit the schools at a later date.

Penguin Random House UK had arranged for more than 500 staff to visit 130 schools, libraries and children’s centres in London today to celebrate World Book Day. Around two-thirds of the events will go ahead.

The school Maz Evans was due to visit in Bournemouth has closed and her trip to Glasgow this afternoon to take part in the Wee Write Festival has also been cancelled because of the weather. Juno Dawson said she was “gutted” she can’t get up to Edinburgh and Waterstones Glasgow has put its World Book Day events on hold because of the storm.

In Dublin, all five of Dave Rudden's events will now not take place. 

However, Piers Torday said his events, which have all been in London so far, have “not yet” been affected. He tweeted: “Snow is a win-win for #WorldBookDay - either you get to talk about books surrounded by beauty outside or you get to stay at home, curled up with a good book. Whichever way the vane blows for you - have a good one.”

Yesterday (28th February) World Book Day released advice for those taking part in the day’s celebrations, saying “don’t let the weather get you down”.

Pupils from the Saint Rose of Lima School in Glasgow at last year's World Book Day

“We are aware that there have been school closures due to the inclement weather conditions across the country and expect these to continue tomorrow, on World Book Day. We’re so pleased that children are looking forward to going to school to celebrate World Book Day but strongly encourage event organisers to be safe and practical as they make decisions regarding changing plans.”

The organisers are extending the £1 token redemption period beyond 25th March because of the freezing temperatures, with the exact date to be confirmed. They have also encouraged anyone who is snowed in to celebrate by sharing stories, reading and enjoying books.

Despite the storm hampering some WBD celebrations, the event has won praise from Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday during Prime Minister's Questions in parliament. 

The Famous Five at the Glasgow Biggest Book Show event last year

Voicing her support for World Book Day’s ‘Share a Story’ campaign, which encourages people to spend at least 10 minutes reading with their children every day, May said: “As a child I very much enjoyed reading and I think this idea of trying to ensure that we see 10 minutes of reading every day with a child becoming a natural habit for everybody is extremely important and I would certainly support that."

However, World Book Day today (1st March) released data showing that over half of children at Key Stage 2 age are not being read to at home.
The survey, conducted by the National Literacy Trust, showed that nearly half (47.5%) of children aged 8-11 are not reading with someone outside of school, a figure which increases to nearly 80% (77.2%) across the full school age range.

Yesterday, the Bookseller reported that several book trade events had been cancelled because of the snow, including the Irish Book Trade Conference, which was due to go ahead tomorrow in Dublin, but has now been moved to 23rd March. Simon & Schuster's Scribner showcase, which was due to take place last night in London was also postponed and a Celia Imrie event which was due to take place at the Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswell's was cancelled. Meanwhile Dublin indie bookshop The Gutter Bookshop closed for the day to keep staff safe.