Today is a very special date in the reading calendar – it is World Book Day.
Now in its 15th year, World Book Day was set up by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. Every year on March 1st, over 100 countries worldwide celebrate the event – and this World Book Day looks set to be the biggest and best yet.
Most specifically, World Book Day is aimed at children of all ages, encouraging them to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own (you may remember dressing up as a book character in your schooldays for World Book Day…).
With this in mind, we’re providing some special Reader Organisation approved reading recommendations for children (taken from issue 44 of The Reader), all of which would be perfect books to share with children of all ages this World Book Day. Also, there are a couple of special events going on featuring The Reader Organisation which are marking World Book Day – read on for more information…
A Few Good Books for Children
Aged 8 and Under
Michael Foreman, Mia’s Story
This is my favourite book to read with children of this age, it never fails. Mia is a young girl living in the snowy mountains near Santiago in Chile. Mia’s Papa works hard every day selling scrap in the city and dreams of one day being able to build a house of bricks for his family. When Mia loses her dog she goes on a journey to find him which leads her higher up into the mountains to a place in the stars where she gathers a clump of flowers that begin to transform her life and the lives of those around her.
Jill Barklem, Brambly Hedge: Winter Story
The Brambly Hedge stories are timeless and magical, and this one particularly captures the imagination. Snow has come to Brambly Hedge and deep drifts cover the windows and doors, many of the children haven’t seen the snow before and look out on it with great excitement. The mice decide to follow in the tradition of their forefathers and hold a Snow Ball; working together they create a sparkling ice hall and fill it with food, friends and family.
This beautifully-illustrated book grabs children’s attention from the first page and is impossible to put down. The Cat on the Hill is the story of a stray cat living in St Ives who until recently spent his life on the fishing boats every day with an old sailor. The story follows the cat through the seasons, giving the reader a picture of life in St Ives whilst showing how the cat learns to adapt to his new surroundings helped by the friends he makes along the way. This is a moving and heartwarming story that focuses on the importance of friendship.
Chosen by Sam Shipman, Young Person’s Project Manager
Jill Tomlinson, The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out
An absolute must for all animal lovers. Otto is the first penguin chick to be born that year so he has to show all the other chicks how to swim, catch fish and toboggan but who will teach Otto if all the adult penguins seem preoccupied with other things? This is a wonderfully warm story about discovery, adventure and growing up and the cast of brilliant Antarctic animals Otto meets on the way will have you smiling long after it’s finished.
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
If you know somebody who has yet to meet Mr Tumnus and Aslan then remedy that immediately with this book. Escaping through the back of a wardrobe to Narnia, where it is always winter, Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan become caught up in the terrifying rule of the White Witch. Their lives are soon in danger and even the trees cannot be trusted. Can talking beavers and the mysterious Aslan, who is on the move, really help before it is too late? Although second in a series of seven this book stands alone as a classic.
Chosen by Patrick Fisher, Project Worker, Young People (Glasgow)
Jack London, The Call of the Wild
Journey with Buck, a German Shepherd-Saint Bernard cross, into the wild, frozen north of Canada. It is a compelling and fascinating read. Alongside Buck you learn about a more primitive existence which is essential in such a harsh and extreme environment. As civilization is stripped away, Buck embraces his prehistoric, wild nature, and the reader also confronts humanity’s origins. Part of the excitement of this novel is the dog violence, so be warned!
Another fantastic adventure story into the Arctic Circle. I would recommend this as a book to share: read it with a group, or have others around who’ve read it. The story triggers so many deep thoughts, questions and ideas that discussion is essential. Chats about the children’s Daemons (animal companions every human is attached to) have ranged from exploring loss and loneliness, to trying to describe a relationship closer than friendship and family. Everyone brings a unique understanding to the story, it’s fascinating!
Chosen by Anna Fleming, Project Worker, Young People (Get Into Reading Liverpool)
The Reader Organisation will be reading some other brilliant books with nursery and school children at a special World Book Day event taking place at John Lewis in Liverpool One this morning. Get Into Reading Liverpool Project Manager and storytelling supremo Eleanor Stanton will be reading to Year 3 pupils from Great Meols Primary School from 10.30-11.20am, then sharing some stories with children from Liverpool Community College Day Nursery between 11.30-11.50am.
World Book Day 2012 also coincides with the launch of our Reader Apprenticeships scheme. Over the next year we’ll be aiming to raise £14,000 to employ a care-leaver apprentice to work with The Reader Organisation, helping us to develop the Reading Revolution but most importantly, to be given the chance to develop their own skills and self-confidence to look towards a brighter future – very fitting considering WBD is all about reading giving children and young people a kick-start in life.
We have some significant fundraising events in the pipeline that will contribute to consolidating a care-leaver apprenticeship position, with the first event happening on the scheme’s launch-day itself. Some of the TRO team will be shaking buckets alongside students from the University of Liverpool’s English Society around the university campus and at the Student Guild between 10am and 4pm today. If you’re around the area at that time and spot our fundraisers, any change that could be spared would be much appreciated to go towards a wonderful cause. You can also donate to our Reader Apprentice scheme at any time safely and securely through our Virgin Money Giving site or by sending a cheque made payable to ‘The Reader Organisation’.