World Book Day Set To Give Away One Million Books

Judi Curtin, David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson among the “national treasures” writing new stories to mark the occasion
World Book Day UK and Ireland has announced an all-star line-up of authors and illustrators to help it celebrate its 20th anniversary, with the goal of encouraging greater engagement with reading and ownership of books by children.

The reading for pleasure charity has recruited “national treasures” including Judi Curtin, David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson to help it reach more children and young people than ever. These authors will each contribute an official World Book Day €1.50 book, which children can get for free in exchange for the World Book Day book token available to all schoolchildren in the UK and Ireland.

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday 2 March 2017, with events across the country. From January 2017, children will be given a €1.50 book token in their nurseries and schools, which they can use to claim their World Book Day title in participating bookshops from 27 February to 26 March.

Over the past 19 years, World Book Day has delivered 13 million books into the hands of young people across the UK and Ireland. In 2016, the number of books given away was 789,738. The charity’s aim for its 20th anniversary is to increase this number to one million across both the UK and Ireland.

World Book Day was first designated an international event by UNESCO in 1995 after being observed for over 70 years in Catalonia, where giving books to friends and family had become an annual tradition. It was first marked in the UK and Ireland two years later in 1997, in response to an increasing concern over poor reading and writing standards.

Bob Johnston, co-ordinator of the World Book Day Ireland committee, says “One out of every ten children in Ireland still leave their primary school with serious literacy difficulties, and in disadvantaged areas this can be as high as one in three. World Book Day is a wonderful positive campaign to highlight books and reading and it’s wonderful to see that on its 20th Anniversary it continues to grow and encourage children to enjoy stories.”

World Book Day Director Kirsten Grant says: “World Book Day is about creating readers for the future by igniting a love of books and reading in children and young people. It’s about encouraging them to visit their local bookshop and empowering them to make their own choices about the kinds of books they want to read. What better way to do this than offering them stories from the best writing and illustrating talent being published in the UK and Ireland today? We couldn’t be happier to have so many national treasures on board for our 20th anniversary – nobody can better capture children’s imaginations.”

The ten official World Book Day €1.50 books cater for all ages from pre-school through to young adults. In 2017, bestselling Irish author Judi Curtin has written a special adventure featuring Molly & Beth from Time After Time. Titles for the nation’s youngest book lovers will feature beloved characters Peppa Pig and extraterrestrials from the Aliens Love Underpants series. For readers at Key Stage 1, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks will contribute a new Princess Mirror-Belle title and Martin Handford has made one of his Where’s Wally? adventures available. They can also pick up some tips from Horrid Henry or catch up with the Famous Five, whereas Key Stage 2 readers will be able to enjoy something new from beloved British authors David Walliams or Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Young Adult titles will come from Michael Grant and David Almond, and the official World Book Day 2017 illustrator is Liz Pichon, children’s book writer and illustrator/creator of the Tom Gates series.

The €1.50 World Book Day books for 2017 in full:

Irish Title [KS2]:

·       Fast Forward by Judi Curtain (O’Brien Press)

Full list:

·       Peppa Loves World Book Day (Ladybird)
·       Everyone Loves Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
·       Where’s Wally? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford (Walker Books)
·       Princess Mirror-Belle and Snow White by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks (Macmillan)
·       Horrid Henry: Funny Fact Files by Francesca Simon (Orion Children’s Books)
·       Good Old Timmy and Other Stories by Enid Blyton (Hodder Children’s Books)
·       An as yet untitled book by David Walliams (HarperCollins)
·       Butterfly Beach by Jacqueline Wilson (Corgi)
·       Island by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books)
·       Dead of Night: A Front Lines Story by Michael Grant (Egmont)

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