World Book Day (WBD) celebrations will continue to go ahead on Thursday 4th March despite lockdown restrictions, with a range of new measures in place, the charity has confirmed.
Families will be able to use their token in lockdown or else save it for later use when bookshops re-open, 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 of the token will also feature on McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes through February and March, and in some children’s magazines.
The WBD website includes a Look Inside feature on each £1 book's pages, to enable children to browse the titles online, though the tokens cannot be used for online purchases. It has also made free resources for nursery, primary and secondary level on its' schools’ hubs, including audiobooks, activity sheets, discussion guides, and new Author Academy learning videos, featuring authors and illustrators whose work appears in the £1 books.
Commenting on World Book Day 2021, c.e.o. Cassie Chadderton said: “The lockdown has presented us with a unique set of challenges for World Book Day this year, but working together with bookshops, retailers, publishers, schools and National Book Tokens, we want to make sure that children across the country still have the opportunity to enjoy their £1 books. We’re pleased that schools will have another way to engage children with World Book Day, even if they’re at home, and that retailers are offering an extended redemption period too. We’re looking forward to sharing more about our exciting plans for World Book Day 2021 soon.”
The 2021 WBD titles are What the Ladybird Heard Play Book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks (Macmillan Children’s Books); There’s a Wolf in Your Book! by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott (Puffin Books); Luna Loves World Book Day by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers (Andersen Press); Gigantosaurus Dino-Spot by Jonny Duddle (Bonnier Books UK); Planet Omar: Operation Kind by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik (Hachette Children’s Books); Protect the Planet by Jess French, illustrated by Aleesha Nandhra (DK); The River Whale by Sita Brahmachari (Hachette Children’s Books); Skysteppers by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury); Little Badman and the Radioactive Samosa by Humza Arshad and Henry White, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff (Puffin Books); Football School: 20 Fantastic Football Stories by Alexander Bellos and Ben Lyttleton (Walker); Skulduggery Pleasant: Apocalypse Kings by Derek Landy (HarperCollins Children’s Books); Kill Joy by Holly Jackson (Egmont) and, in Ireland only, Lily and the Lissadell Ghost by Judi Curtin (The O’Brien Press).
WBD's £1 books will be stocked in major supermarkets as well as bookshop chains and selected independent booksellers.
The organisation said it shared 2.5 million stories during World Book Day month in 2020. More than one million £1 books were gifted in the UK and Ireland in only five weeks, with 30.5 million £1 book tokens distributed overall, it added.