A programme of digital events featuring children’s favourites, fun online learning opportunities, and a celebrity-backed mass participation campaign – World Book Day invites everyone to join the biggest celebration of books and shared reading, whatever the circumstances on March 4.
Covid-19 has contributed to widening the economic and educational gap and made it more difficult for many children to access books. As a charity, World Book Day is at the forefront of tackling this book poverty by offering every child the opportunity to have a book of their own.
Cassie Chadderton, CEO, said that World Book Day 2021 – designed around even more accessibility and inclusivity – meant bringing “a moment of joy and hope to children and families in these difficult times”. Many agencies are reporting the effect of lockdown on children’s health and wellbeing, particularly those from lower socio-economic groups.
The charity stresses that the wide-ranging consequences of Covid-19 have further increased the need to promote reading for pleasure as the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success. World Book Day’s new initiatives include:
· A fully digital, free Share a Story Live events programme, featuring children’s favourites including Humza Arshad, Alex Bellos, Sita Brahmachari, Joseph Coelho, Jonny Duddle, Tom Fletcher, Jess French, Fiona Lumbers, Ben Lyttleton, Zanib Mian, Lydia Monks and Katherine Rundell, with motivational speaker Kenny Baraka, TV presenter Nigel Clarke and actress, comedian and writer Jessie Cave as hosts (3-5 March)
· The Authors and Illustrators Academy – a suite of fun and fascinating tutorial videos from World Book Day £1 Book authors and illustrators (from February 1)
· A Show your Shares mass online participation campaign, which will see World Book Day champions, authors and children and families post photos of themselves sharing a story together on social media channels (from March 1)
· A suite of online toolkits including activity sheets and discussion guides for teachers, parents and carers
· A programme of ‘Share a Story’ YouTube readings, featuring World Book Day authors, champions, and influencers (from 1 March)
These come in addition to two previously announced digital initiatives: the World Book Day Book Club for 5+ and 9+ audiences, and Share a Story Corner for early readers.
World Book Day CEO Cassie Chadderton said: “World Book Day tackles book poverty and brings the joy of books and shared reading to children and families. Social inequalities – economic and educational – have become more exposed this year, and World Book Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate reading for pleasure, an activity that makes a huge and positive difference to our children’s futures. After all children have experienced this year World Book Day’s mission is more relevant than it has ever been.”
World Book Day has again assembled a coalition of high-profile partners to support its message and reach more children and families. These include McDonald’s, Royal Mail and the Beano – with many more still to be announced.
There will be online readings available from the Irish World Book Day author Judi Curtin, as well as across the main World Book Day site.
A line-up of influential ambassadors and champions will boost the campaign, with names to be released next month.
The charity is also working closely with its partners in bookselling and publishing, its sponsor, National Book Tokens, in schools and nurseries, libraries, prisons and with other charities to make World Book Day a powerful and positive event this year.
World Book Day has introduced a single-use digital token, giving schools a lockdown-friendly option to distribute tokens to families. The charity is working closely with booksellers on creative ways to get books to children across the country. Booksellers will honour the tokens beyond March 28 (while stocks last).