That's right...it's nearly time for World Book Day! In just a few short weeks, schools, libraries, bookshops and literacy groups will be joining together on Thursday, 7 March to celebrate the joy of reading and the pleasure of books with children everywhere, just as we have done for the last 22 years. And to encourage children to explore the wonderful world of books, schools are provided with special World Book Day Tokens to give to their students so that each child can have a book of their own, chosen from the special selection of World Book Day books released every year. (One token=one World Book Day book...so, that's a book for free!) This may sound like a very simple idea, and it is...but it is also an incredible opportunity, given the fact that so many children don't have access to books at home. I can assure you that the most powerful way of getting children into reading is to offer them the chance to own their own books. It makes all the difference in the world.
But let's see what will be on offer this year...
Now THAT is an incredible selection of books for all ages of children, right through teen/YoungAdult readers. And, because I am in Ireland, I want to give a special shout for Irelands' WBD book on offer this year...it's only Sam Hannigan's RockStar Granny by Alan Nolan. published by The O'Brien Press..you don't want to miss that one. I'll have more on this as we creep closer to the day, but the message I want to get out there now is this: Check with your school to make sure they receive the packs of WBD tokens to give to their students. If not, they should register with World Book Day NOW.
Also see what events your local school has going to celebrate World Book Day. There are so many ideas on the World Book Day site. Have a look at the Resources page for things to do; costume parades, video links, activity sheets & craft ideas, writing workshops... and please remember to check out the great events at your local bookshop, where your classes can trade their WBD tokens for a book of their own choosing.
One of my favourite pages is the Empathy Boosting Books page. Forty-five amazing titles have been selected for the 2019 Read for Empathy Guides by an expert panel. In a world filled with pressures caused by social divisions and the empathy-draining affects of much of the media, EmpathyLab has harnessed the power of stories and story-telling to build a new push toward empathy and compassion.
My point is...get it going NOW. The 7th of March will be here before you know it. And I know you don't want to disappoint the kids. You want to encourage their reading habits and enjoyment. So, you really need to start planning. Looking at their selections (and, I am pleased to say, I have read them all), these books are stunning books to help develop life-skills and create a more compassionate, thoughtful way of being.
Year after year, I hosted the World Book Day Extravaganza in Dubray Books, Galway, devoting the entire first week of March to World Book Day. Hundreds of local school students each year were treated to workshops, readings, 'meet the author' events, bookshop tours and general book chats. ( (Yes...hundreds, really. My record was 704 children. It was brilliant!) And I would travel out to the schools to talk books with the kids. This year, I'm not sure what I'll be doing, but I'm sure I will be up to something. Of course, I'll take you along with me, my friends. Let's make some book magic, shall we?
Get ready! World Book Day 2019 is coming!