World Book Day

imageThis years World Book Day takes place Thursday 5 March 2015. The event has been running across the UK and Ireland since 1995 and is sponspored by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. It is the local manifestation of World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days). On World Book Day, every child in full-time education in the UK is given a voucher to be spent on books. The Day was first celebrated in 1995 in the United Kingdom. The original, global World Book Day event is generally observed on 23 April However In the United Kingdom, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March instead, to avoid the established international 23 April date which clashes with Easter school holidays, and St George’s Day

The United Kingdom’s own version of World Book Day was launched at the Globe Theatre in London, when Several million schoolchildren in Great Britain were given a GB£1 special World Book Day Book Token (€1.50 in Ireland) which could be redeemed against any book in any UK bookshop. A specially created WBD anthology priced at £1 (€1.50 in Ireland) was also published. All World Book Day point of sale and the £1 book carried the special World Book Day logo to help unify the initiative through all outlets.Since then, World Book Day UK has followed a similar pattern, gradually growing each year to encompass more initiatives, such as Spread The Word, Quick Reads Initiative and Books for Hospitals. Every year, the number of children receiving a World Book Day Book Token has increased. In 2000, instead of a single £1 special anthology, four separate £1 books were published, covering a wider age-range. Since then, each year has seen a new set of special £1 books published.

In 2006, World Book Day began its support of and association with the Quick Reads initiative for adult emergent readers.In 2007, World Book Day celebrated its 10th anniversary with the publication of 10 £1 books. Since then every child in full-time education in the UK and Ireland is entitled to receive a £1 World Book day Book token every year. They can swap their WBD token for one of specially-produced £1 WBD books or they can get £1 off a full-price book or audio book. In 2007, the Spread the Word promotion was revamped into an on-line book group featuring a number of adult books suitable for book Groups. A short list of 10 titles was announced on 1 February 2008, and the winning book, was Boy A by Jonathan Trigell. World Book Day 2008 was declared by The Bookseller magazine to be more successful than any previous World Book Day. World Book Day has been billed as The Biggest Book Show on Earth and is celebrated with a variety of events in schools and libraries, including a festival hosted by Tony Robinson, presenter and author of the Weird World of Wonders series, who gave advice on how to start writing.

Past speakers have included Anthony Horowitz, author of the popular Alex Rider series, who discussed how to create suspense and plant clues,(House of Silk is a great novel) Horrid Henry writer Francesca Simon demonstrated how to bring characters to life, meanwhile Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series, hosted a talk on how to develop characters while Cathy Cassidy, two time winner of the prestigious ‘Queen of Teen Awards’, explained how to structure a story. For budding illustrators there was also advice from Shirley Hughes OBE on where to start plus tips on drawing animal characters from Guy Parker-Rees, whose Giraffes Can’t Dance and Spookyrumpus have made him one of the bestselling illustrators in the country. There was also a free book making workshop for kids at the National Print Museum, Dublin and a meet-the-authors event with Annabel Pitcher (author of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece) and Michael Stewart (King Crow) at Wakefield Library and Museum.

In addition The “Big Book” opened outside John Rylands Library in Deansgate, Manchester and gave people the opportunity to share their stories. In the past WHSmith has had signings with favourite authors, including Henry Winkler and Ros Asquith. A large number of schools and libraries also organised their own events, ranging from murder mysteries, author visits and sponsored readathons to dressing up as favourite book characters and literature quizzes.

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