Celebrating World Book Day

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Every year World Book Day brings up a range of funny and often excruciating memories from my time at primary school, when we were always encouraged to dress up as our favourite children’s book character. One of the most memorable was when, aged 9, I decided that I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking for the day and ordered my mother to dye my mousy brown hair ginger. Sadly, she picked up a bottle of semi-permanent dye and failed to notice that it required at least 20 washes to come out.

But in all seriousness, World Book Day is a great annual campaign to get children interested in reading. It was designated by UNESCO as, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. This year it’s taking place on 6th March and there are already some great activities being planned in schools around the country – many much more exciting than just dressing up. On the Guardian Teacher Network, there are activity packs for nursery, primary and secondary schools which include ideas such as organising a sponsored ‘read-a-thon’ or acting out a scene from a favourite classic.

The World Book Day website includes all of the day’s featured authors, whose books are available for just £1: David Melling, Hello, Hugless Douglas!; Emily Gravett, Little Book Day Parade; Jim Smith, I Am Not a Loser; Jill Murphy, Fun with the Worst Witch; Lauren St John, The Midnight Picnic are just a few. If you click here, you can also contribute your own ideas for ways to promote classroom reading and reading for pleasure. There are already some great thoughts up there.

The Reading Agency has created a great pack specifically for World Book day, which includes some great activities such as making a scrapbook out of your favourite book, putting together a book quiz or playing a game of guess the book charades. There are also some great tips about running children’s reading clubs.

In Wales, Olympic Gold medallist Jade Jones is one of the Welsh 2014 World Book Day champions. Over 15,000 posters promoting the day are being distributed to schools, colleges and bookshops across the country in the run-up to 6th March.

The Biggest Book Show on Earth is included in the line-up of events and is due to tour the country in in the first two weeks of March. Some of the authors mentioned above will be giving their hints and tips on different aspects of writing and illustration. Talks will include David Melling’s ‘How do you decide what a character looks like?’ and Lauren St. John’s ‘How do you bring your imagination to life?’ It is also available in a pre-recorded format which you can watch online. For more details click here – well worth watching for all aspiring authors, not just school-aged ones!

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