WORLD BOOK DAY UK SET TO GIVE AWAY 1 MILLION BOOKS TO MARK 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD’S BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF READING
David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson among the “national treasures” writing new stories to mark the occasion
World Book Day UK has today (Friday 9 Sept) 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 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 book, which children can get for free in exchange for the £1 book token available to all schoolchildren in the UK and Ireland.
Over the past 19 years, World Book Day UK has delivered 13 million £1 books into the hands of young people across the country. In 2016, the number of £1 books given away was 789,738. The charity’s aim for its 20th anniversary is to increase this number to one million.
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 two years later in 1997, in response to an increasing concern over poor reading and writing standards.
Founder of World Book Day UK, Baroness Gail Rebuck, also Chair of Penguin Random House UK and founder of Quick Reads, says: “In 1997 the level of children’s engagement with reading was at a point of national crisis. The previous year a Government report had been released showing that 42% of 11-year-olds failed to achieve level 4 in reading and writing on entry to secondary school. We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives. I’ve seen first-hand how World Book Day has affected social change and long may it continue.”
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 books cater for all ages from pre-school through to young adults. In 2017, the 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 World Book Day books for 2017 in full:
- 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)
- Fast Forward by Judi Curtain (O’Brien Press)
World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday 2 March 2017. From January 2017, children in the UK and Ireland will be given a £1 (€1.50 in Ireland) book token in their nurseries and schools, which they can use to claim their World Book Day title in participating bookshops and supermarkets from 27 February to 26 March.
Dead of Night: A Front Lines Story by Michael Grant (Egmont)
Rio Richlin doesn’t have superpowers. She is an ordinary young woman. A soldier in the American army, wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, and fighting alongside thousands who are trying to make a difference, trying to change the world. At least, that’s the plan. Right now she’s part of a squad on a training exercise in some place called Wales. They’re cold, they’re wet, and Rio’s pretty sure they’re also lost. Spending the night in a creepy old inn wasn’t part of the plan at all…Set in the alternative World War II scenario of his Front Lines novels, Michael Grant, author of the bestselling GONE series, has written this story exclusively for World Book Day.
Visit www.worldbookday.com from Friday 9 September 2016 for more information and to subscribe to the free monthly World Book Day e-newsletter. Search #WorldBookDay20 for the latest news.
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For further information, please contact: Caitlin Allen or Carly Lewis at Riot Communications on
For all Michael Grant enquiries, please contact: Alice Hill at Egmont Publishing on 02032200490 / firstname.lastname@example.org
– Notes to Editors –
- About World Book Day:
World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.
World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all. A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.
To mark the day, school children are entitled to receive a World Book Day £1 book token (or equivalent €1.50 in Ireland) supplied by National Book Tokens Ltd. The £1 book token can be exchanged for one of ten (eleven in Ireland) specially published World Book Day £1 books, or is redeemable against any book or audio book of their choice costing £2.99 or more at a participating bookshop or book club. The World Book Day £1 book token will be valid from 27 February to 26 March 2017.
- Successful World Book Day initiatives set to return for the 20th anniversary:
- The third World Book Day Award (WoBoD) will be launched on 26 September 2016. This year the award is sponsored by Walker Books, who have donated books worth a total of £24,000 to the prize fund to celebrate the publication of A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. Primary and secondary schools across the UK & Ireland will be invited to respond creatively to the theme of A Child of Books to be in with the chance of win a World of Stories worth up to £5,000 for their school library.
- The Biggest Book Show on Earth will tour five major locations across the UK and Ireland from 27 February until 3 March, with the irrepressible Steven Butler, author of the Diary of Dennis the Menace books, returning as host to over 25 top authors and illustrators.
- About National Book Tokens:
National Book Tokens are the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere and are the only gift cards sold and accepted in bookshops across the UK and Ireland, including all the major chains and local independents. As proud sponsors of World Book Day, National Book Tokens supports lifelong learning and improving literacy and access to reading for everyone. Visit www.nationalbooktokens.com for more information.
About Egmont Publishing
In the UK, Egmont Publishing is the leading specialist children’s publisher for babies to teens, inspiring children to read through more than 25 million award-winning books, magazines, ebooks and apps sold each year. We’re proud to be home to many of the world’s favourite stories and best-loved authors, illustrators and characters such as Michael Morpurgo, Andy Stanton, Enid Blyton, Julia Donaldson, Lemony Snicket, Michael Grant (Gone series and BZRK), Winnie-the-Pooh, Tintin, Mr. Men, Thomas & Friends, Disney Princess, Ben 10, Fireman Sam, Angry Birds, Minecraft and Star Wars.
Egmont Publishing is part of Egmont, a leading Danish media group, with activities in 30 countries and 6,600 employees. Our media world includes Nordisk Film, TV2 in Norway, cinemas, book publishers, educational publishers and PlayStation, as well as a number of partly owned film companies, including Zentropa.
Egmont is a commercial foundation that generates revenue amounting to EUR 1.6 billion. Every year we donate over EUR 10 million to help improve the lives of children and young people.