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Recent discussions have uncovered some misunderstandings about World Book Day, which we would like to address

What is the aim of World Book Day?

As a charity, our central mission is to offer every child the opportunity to read and love books. In addition, we aim to

  • get children from all backgrounds excited about reading and encourage them to read for pleasure
  • raise the profile of children’s books, reading for pleasure and World Book Day across all media, by starting a nationwide conversation about the importance of reading

How is World Book Day funded?

The charity is funded by a wide selection of publishers, as well as our sponsor, National Book Tokens and booksellers nationwide, who fully fund the cost of the book token redemptions.

It is run by a very small team and supported by volunteers, all of whom are dedicated to getting books into children’s hands.

What impact does World Book Day have?

From research conducted for our 20th anniversary via the National Literacy Trust’s 2016 Annual Literacy Survey

  • 89.5% are aware of World Book Day
  • Six in ten KS2 children said they were also inspired to read more by our campaign
  • The book that 1 in 4 children (1 in 3 for those receiving school meals) ‘bought’ with their 2016 £1 book token was the first they have ever personally owned

How are the £1 books chosen?

Each year, we hold a selection meeting, where publishers put forward a number of titles to the World Book Day team and a selection panel of booksellers – independent booksellers, Waterstones, WHSmith and supermarkets. The aim is to create a list of ten books that will appeal to the widest number of children possible, ensuring there is a representative list with something that will appeal to all ages and stages. We also have to balance the publisher representation too.

Getting the right mix of the £1 books (€1.50 in Ireland) is key, as they drive children and parents into bookshops to redeem their book tokens and pick up their free WBD book – or many choose to use theirs to get £1 off a full-price book instead.

Why have you included so many celebrity authors?

Authors and illustrators are instrumental to the WBD campaign, and on this year’s list we have a mix of names that children will already know and love, as well as those that we hope they will discover for the first time. There are lots of hugely loved authors, brands and characters on the list, from Mr Men to Paddington, to the Oi! series, as well as fabulous newer stars like Pamela Butchart – and yes, there are celebrity writers on the list (whose books have not been ghostwritten), but if they are the catalyst to encouraging a non-reader to pick up a book and start a nationwide conversation about reading, then everyone will be better off.

The fact the campaign has become so successful is in no small part thanks to our writers’ and illustrators’ ongoing support and spreading our reading message through their fanbases.

What’s happening about YA?

We will, of course, be catering for young adults as part of the campaign, and will be revealing our plans for this in the coming weeks.

 Why are supermarkets involved?

We have a wide number of retailers on board now, to help us to extend the reach of our campaign, and give children the opportunity to redeem their token either if they don’t have a local bookshop or they are not regular visitors to their local bookshop. The tokens can be redeemed in Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Waterstones, WHSmith as well as hundreds of independent bookshops nationwide.

Will the World Book Day authors be doing events?

A big part of the campaign is to take authors and illustrators to children who might not previously have been to an author/illustrator event. We do this through our major nationwide tour THE BIGGEST BOOK SHOW ON EARTH, which will be stopping off at six major venues nationwide in 2018, reaching over 6,500 children.

Each of the World Book Day authors will be taking part in the tour (except the notable exception, of course, of Michael Bond) as well as over thirty top authors and illustrators, as well as rising stars.

 What other opportunities are there for non £1 book authors and illustrators?

The £1 books are only one element of many happening on and around World Book Day. We are passionate supporters and promoters of quality writing for children and young people, and promote their work through our nationwide live tour, THE BIGGEST BOOK SHOW ON EARTH, our extensive reading recommendations, new, bespoke lesson plans, a range of podcasts featuring extracts from popular titles and full picture books to help children keep reading and discover what to read next and much, much more. We are also in discussion with publishers about including a selection of audiobooks on the World Book Day website for the redemption period.

 For 2018, we would love authors and illustrators to get involved by sharing and promoting our SHARE A STORY message, encouraging parents to TAKE 10 and spend at least 10 minutes a day reading with their children, as this has a vital impact on their outcome.