World Book Day in 2021

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On World Book Day, 4 March 2021, families across the country joined The Duchess of Cornwall, Dermot O’Leary, Adam Kay, Jordan Stephens, Louise Pentland, MC Grammar and an inspirational crew of authors and illustrators to celebrate World Book Day wherever they were. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall set the tone for the day, calling World Book Day “the birth of reading” for many children.

This year we delivered a pandemic-adjusted all-day programme of free digital events and activities designed to engage children and help them develop a life-long habit of reading for pleasure.  Read more about all these brilliant initiatives below: 

  • HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and £1 book authors Tom Fletcher, Zanib Mian and Katherine Rundell kicked off World Book Day with the children of Acklam Whin School in a morning of celebration in partnership with Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust.
  • In collaboration with the award-winning teacher-turned-rapper MC Grammar, World Book Day launched our first ever official song. If you haven’t already, listen to the song here and discover our brilliant accompanying resources. With nearly 250k views, the World Book Day song inspired a wave book-themed raps by pupils and teachers across the country
  • An incredible 110k+ people were reached through our Share a Story Live digital events programme over three days. Our fantastic £1 book authors and illustrators spoke with hosts Kenny Baraka, Nigel Clarke and Jessie Cave to share brilliant tips and ways to celebrate reading. All the live events were recorded and are available to view here
  • Our Show Your Shares competition ran for 4 weeks throughout March. We challenged families and schools to show us how they enjoy reading together for the chance to win £100 of National Book Tokens. You can see all the winning entries here. Some of our favourite entries from the Hall of Fame have been featured on this page. 
  • World Book Day’s audiobooks racked up over 200,000 free listens over World Book Day week. You can listen to them all for free here
  • #WorldBookDay and our brand new Twitter emoji trended at number 1 on Twitter all day, with 2.5 million impressions over the week and 1.1 million impressions on World Book Day alone
  • We hosted a BBC Live Lessons event starring Sita Brahmachari, Jess French and Football Schools, alongside Clare Balding, Ben Bailey Smith, Liz Pichon, Greg James and Chris Smith, with a live Q&A with Humza Arshad. You can find the accompanying live lessons resources here.
  • We introduced the new World Book Day 10-minute reads, featuring online reading with our £1 book authors and illustrators, as well as fantastic authors including Adam Kay, Jacqueline Wilson and Sophie Dahl. Find them all here
  • Under the banner ‘The Power of Books’, World Book Day is exploring how young people today feel about reading in relation to future plans and success, stress, anxiety and mental health. The project, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, comes supported by authors including, Holly Bourne, Derek Landy, Mel and Nat of Black Girls Book Club, and Cecilia Knapp, the Young People’s Laureate for London. You can visit our teen website here and view all the author videos.

In addition, World Book Day continued to work with our partners to engage children all over the UK with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure. Our initiatives included: 

  • 50 professional football club community organisations across the country delivered free books to local schools through their Premier League Primary Stars sessions in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
  • A donation of over 30,000 World Book Day £1 books by publishers arrived in National Literacy Trust hub areas to support communities where low levels of literacy are seriously impacting people’s lives.
  • In Blackpool, Doncaster, Nottingham and Middlesbrough World Book Day worked with Libraries Connected and the National Literacy Trust to deliver local World Book Day events.
  • BookTrust distributed 90k tokens via their BookStart Coordinators working in libraries and community settings.
  • A partnership with Read for Good helped get 2,400 books directly to school children in deprived areas.
  • A partnership with Scottish BookTrust distributed 5k vouchers through Bookbug for the Home, a programme to introduce the benefits of stories to families with very young children who are facing significant barriers such as poverty and social isolation
  • We organised the distribution of 24,000 books to all UK prisons in the UK to help families enjoy reading together.
  • Royal Mail gave post boxes a World Book Day makeover, honouring authors who have been doing wonderful work in service of children’s literature and wellbeing during the lockdowns. They were Cressida Cowell (Oban), Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola (Shepherd’s Bush, London), Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (Sheffied), Eloise Williams (Cardiff), Sam McBratney (Belfast)
  • McDonald’s included World Book Day’s £1 token in all its Happy Meal Boxes from 3 March to 13 April.
  • Goodstitch created official World Book Day t-shirts featuring illustrator Rob Biddulph’s designs and Pawprint Family designed a special World Book Day badge. You can see all the fantastic T-shirts here to celebrate reading together in style, or complete the challenge to earn your World Book Day badge here

Thank you so much to all our partners, the publishers who support World Book Day, and the authors and illustrators who got involved to spread the word about reading for pleasure.

You can see the National Literacy Trust’s World Book Day impact report here.

We are already excited for what World Book Day 2022 holds. Next year, we’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary, so watch this space. . . 

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