World Book Day has launched Share a Million Stories, its initiative inviting mass participation from families, schools and nurseries, bookshops and libraries, challenging adults and children to read together as much as they can from 27th February to 29th March.
Building on the success of the World Book Day Share a Story campaign, it’s aim is to start a "Reading Revolution" by kick-starting new reading behaviours in families.
Only 29% of 0–13-year-olds read for pleasure daily, down from 30% in 2017, according to Egmont's 2019 "Children’s Reading for Pleasure: Trends and Challenges" report, while only 56% of three to four-year-olds are read to daily or nearly every day, down from 69% in 2013, and fewer than 19% of eight to 10-year-olds are read to daily or nearly every day, down from 25%, according to Nielsen's 2018 "Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer" report.
As part of the scheme, "story shares" (defined as reading with a child for at least 10 minutes) can be pledged and logged online. Among the prizes up for grabs this year, as an incentive for logging these, are £1,000 worth of books, £100 of National Book Tokens and an exclusive signed Rob Biddulph print.
The national total of stories shared will be tracked by the World Book Day Share-o-meter, which has been designed by Biddulph, who is the official World Book Day illustrator.
Readers are encourged to register their pledge to support the campaign on 20th January. They will then receive an email on 6th February, asking them to create a profile to record the number of stories shared during World Book Day month. Story shares can then be logged for a month from 27th Feburary, with 5th March marking World Book Day 2020 itself.
As announced in September at The Bookseller's Children's Conference, the World Book Day 2020 list comprises 15 books from authors such as Matt Haig, Anthony Horowitz and Greg James.
Emily Gravett, illustrator of Evie in the Jungle, said: "If there’s only one thing that we can give our children, I would choose the gift of a love of books and reading. Books are as wide ranging and diverse as the humans that read them. They take us outside of our own lives, and let us see the world through a different lens. When we can see the world from someone else’s perspective, we can begin to understand our place in it. Also (and not to be underestimated) they can be extremely entertaining!"
Anthony Horowitz, author of Alex Rider Undercover: Four Secret Files, said: "A life without stories, without the power of books, would be a very grey world—it's good to add colour."