Thursday 7 March 2013 is World Book Day,and a host of international stars are set to entice children from across the globe to pick up a book. The UK will host an hour-long event, held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London at 11am on 7 March, which will be broadcast live to cinemas around the UK, and shown around the world. The show, which is being billed as the “Biggest Book Show on Earth” is hosted by TV actor and writer Tony Robinson, and features authors including Francesca Simon, Anthony Horowitz and Lauren Child.
Robinson said of the event: “The target this year is for three-quarters of a million children,” he added, “I’m just about to go and sit in a quiet place and start to think about what I’m going to say. It’s the largest audience I’ve ever played to.” Author Tom Gates said: “I’ll be talking about how to capture your ideas and plan your writing.”
World Book Day has proved to be such as success, with last year, fast food chain McDonalds donating millions of books to the cause, and around half a million children from more than 75 countries watching the show. This year, organisers of the show say that so far over 550,000 have already registered this year, with many thousands more expected to sign up by Thursday.
And the day will not only be marked by the main event, in schools and libraries across the UK and the world, many children will use the day as an excuse to dress up as their favourite literary character. To celebrate World Book Day there will be eight books released which will be available to buy at £1 each, or can be exchanged for the £1 World Book Day book token given to each child by their school. The books include Hughes’s Alfie’s Shop, Simon’s Horrid Henry’s Guide to Perfect Parents, Horowitz’s The Diamond Brothers in… Two of Diamonds and Pichon’s Tom Gates: Best Book Day Ever! (So Far).
Liz Pichon says: “Most schools these days almost have a World Book Week, with events going on throughout the week, book fairs, dressing up – everyone gets involved. Anything which encourages children to pick up a book of any kind is fantastic. It really makes a difference – gets them to try out something different.”
And Robinson continued: “I’ve always been very passionate about children’s writing – I was an avid reader as a kid, then when I had my kids it was wonderful to have that whole world of Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, which wasn’t there when I was a kid. I was still reading second world war late imperial books, like Biggles, so to have this new, really sophisticated, profoundly psychological and well written fiction was fantastic. And now I’m coming to it all again, with my grandchildren.”
Robinson said he believes there is “something so suitable to the psyche, the brain of the human being about the written narrative, that I am pretty confident that the more we are able to expose children to the story in all its wonder, the more they will digest it and it will become as much a part of them as breathing or walking.”
There will also be an app, aimed at young adults, launched on World Book Day, which will feature stories from top teen authors, including Chris Ryan, Patrick Ness and Alex Scarrow, as well as some aspiring young writers from the Movellas online writing community. Kirsten Grant, director of World Book Day, said, “The new app and our partnership with Movellas is just one way of getting great book content to young adult readers. Delivering content digitally and talking to teens in the spaces they like to visit and socialise also allows us to offer a taste of the brilliant fiction that’s out there and hopefully, turn more young people on to reading.”
The full list of £1 books for 2013 is:
Alfie’s Shop by Shirley Hughes
Giraffes Can’t Dance: Colouring and Puzzle Fun by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
Horrid Henry’s Guide to Perfect Parents by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross
Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: Funny Inventions by Tony Robinson
The Diamond Brothers in… Two of Diamonds by Anthony Horowitz
Hang In There Bozo: The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide For Some Tricky Predicaments by Lauren Child
Tom Gates: Best Book Day Ever! (So Far) by Liz Pichon
The Chocolate Box Girls: Bittersweet by Cathy Cassidy