World Book Day Excitement

The World Book Day 2018 is nearly over. But there is some great news for those of you who are still hanging on to the World Book Day Vouchers. Remember, these vouchers are given out by schools all across the UK and Ireland in an effort to make sure every child can have a book of their own choosing; one to read and enjoy and to help them develop a love of books and reading! The £1/€1.50 vouchers are redeemable in bookshops for one of the specially published World Book Day books (10 books in all/ 11 in Ireland thanks to the efforts of The O'Brien Press!)
Or, your child can use them against any book of their choice to receive £1/€1.50 off the price. Now, here's the good news. Due to the freezing temperatures and the snow (!), while many of you were not able to attend World Book Day events or get out to spend your vouchers, the good people at World Book Day have decided to extend the redemption period until the 31st of March! So, you have two full weeks to spend those vouchers. What a great addition to a family day out...pop into your local bookshop and chose your World Book Day voucher!
As I had mentioned before, this year, due to circumstances, I didn't go all out and throw my traditional World Book Day Extravaganza (for a week, as it usually turns out). But I did have some great events organised. And I managed to get them all in last week, to make up for the bad weather cancellations. On Tuesday, I spent a few hours at Dominican College talking to two large groups of 14-year-old girls about their reading habits and some of the fantastic reads out for them. This can be a bit of a challenge, as at that age, they have no problem telling you what they don't like about reading. So...we talked about it. And in the end, as I always say, if I can get one kid who "doesn't like to read" to start picking up books, I consider that a success. You see, if one of the non-readers finds a book they really love, they'll tell their friends. And the next thing you know, they are all readers. I was also delighted to hear they have instituted the "Drop Everything And Read" programme, where for 20 minutes three times a week, the entire school devotes itself to having the students reading. I believe every school should have this programme running as part of the curriculum. You'll be surprised at what a difference it makes in all aspects of education and life, in general.
Wednesday and Thursday found me in front of school children from the local area in the shop. I invited St Nicholas Parochial School in (yes, the whole school, but by class groups...I'm not crazy) to talk about books and read to them. For the little ones, I had a selection of some of my favourite picture books, new and old, to share with them and get them to participate in. It wouldn't be World Book Day if I didn't read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak while having the children act out the part of the Wild Things!With the older kids, we talked about how to be an author, what happens when you want to get published and some new and brilliant books by Irish authors and read from two of my favourites, Tin by Padraig Kenny and Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan. The trick is knowing where to stop so you leave them wanting more! And on Thursday, in came Galway Educate Together for more picture book readings and talking about what they love about books. Small children are very eloquent when they talk about their favourite books.I think we all need to listen to them more.
Friday was another day out. I went up to Scoil Ide for several hours, read picture books to little ones and talked about reading to an older group. One young lady was brilliant. She really didn't like reading, or so she said...then she enquired about books about the Plague (I'm thinking The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh here...brilliant!) And then there was how she really liked murder and death. Well, that's Robin Stevens 'A Murder Most Unladylike' series, isn't it. All the other girls chimed in with suggestions for her, and yes, she did come into the bookshop over the weekend to check out what was on offer.
We also talked a good bit about the Bold Girls incentive and the wonderful reading guide by Childrens Book Ireland.(Get it now!) Another great read for these girls...Mollie on the March by Anna Carey. And there was great excitement! All and all, a success!
 So, that's my World Book Day visits done and dusted for another year. All in all, I spoke to about 400 local school children. Not bad for what I called 'low key'.
Keep reading and sharing books! And don't forget to use those vouchers by the 31st of March!

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