To celebrate the 25th anniversary of World Book Day children from Year 6 pupils at Hillingdon Primary School in Uxbridge attended a reception at N.10 Downing Street.
At the 90-minute ‘I Am A Reader’ event, the children enjoyed a presentation from Rashmi Sirdeshpande (author of World Book Day £1 book Think Like a Boss: Discover the skills that turn great ideas into CASH), an illustration masterclass with World Book Day Illustrator Allen Fatimaharan, and a rap-battle with World Book Day Ambassador MC Grammar (Jacob Mitchell).
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
A world without books would be a dull, grey universe of ignorance and misery. Reading enlightens, inspires and equips us to navigate the world and enjoy it.
Reading is a huge part in shaping children and young people’s futures – from nurturing their early development, to opening up their imaginations to new and exciting worlds.
On World Book Day, whether you are dressing up as your favourite character or picking up a best-loved book today, it’s a great chance to promote the benefits of reading for all.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi MP said:
“It is fantastic to see so many children marking World Book Day by dressing up as a character from their favourite book.
Reading for pleasure is a key indicator of a child’s future success, which is why I want to see more children learning to read from a young age, whatever their background.
He continues: “I am determined to meet our ambitious target for 90 per cent of children leaving primary school at the expected standards in reading and writing by 2030. I would encourage any child who is struggling to find enjoyment from reading to open a book on something they really love – whether that is animals, sports or superheroes.”
We asked leading figures across literary organisations, agencies and charities to look to the future and answer one simple question on our milestone anniversary. Read the full report, here.
These responses demonstrate a huge optimism around a society where reading is at the heart of learning, wellbeing and enjoyment, as well as the need for urgency in addressing key challenges. Contributors including Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza, Baroness Gail Rebuck, Executive Chair of Faber Stephen Page, and WHSmith CEO Carl Cowling have contributed to this new report.
Cassie Chadderton, CEO of World Book Day said:
“It was wonderful to be back at Downing Street, marking the 25th birthday of World Book Day. We know that reading for pleasure has an enormous impact on a child’s future – whether that’s their educational success, well-being or mental health, so our mission to encourage all children to see themselves as readers – whatever their ability or interests – is more important than ever. It is great to have this support from the government.”
Emma Scott, Chair of World Book Day said:
“We are delighted that World Book Day’s mission has received support from the Prime Minister and the government. It was wonderful to see how excited the children were to read, draw and perform at the event at No 10. The world would be a brighter, happier place full of extraordinary potential and opportunities if more children were reading for pleasure and this is something we are determined to achieve over our next 25 years.”
Pictures by Luca Boffa / No 10 Downing Street