Happy World Book Day from The Reader

Happy World Book Day! We were delighted to start celebrating the day by appearing on BBC Breakfast talking about the importance of reading for pleasure. Here’s The Reader’s very own Sophie Clarke on the BBC Breakfast sofa with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.

BBC Breakfast 3rd Mar 2016 resize

From Robert Lyon, Communications Intern

World Book Day has arrived! Once again millions of children and adults will come together to celebrate books in all their glory. A day to recognise a host of books, authors, illustrators and the readers themselves, World Book Day is celebrated with a host of events across the country. One of the longest standing features of World Book Day is of course the £1 short stories that are available to buy in stores from today. This year you have the option of enjoying:
Kipper’s Visitor by Mark Inkpen;
Supertato: Hap-Pea Ever After by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet;
Daisy and the Trouble With Jack by Kes Gray;
The Great Mouse Plot by Roald Dahl;
Welcome to the World of Norm by Jonathan Meres;
Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space by Cavan Scott;
Harper and the Sea of Secrets by Cerrie Burnell;
The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked by David Baddiel;
Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson;
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell.

Schools all over the country will be distributing their £1 World Book Day tokens that get you any one of these fantastic titles or £1 off any other book you may want to buy.

At The Reader and The Storybarn we have been running a competition that allows children from across Liverpool and the local area to send in a drawing of what they love about their favourite book with the hopes of winning the prize of a free day at The Storybarn for their class. The response has been amazing with masses of bright and creative drawings gracing the walls of The Reader office as we struggle to pick a winner. The winner is being picked out later today and the lucky child and his or her class will soon make a trip to the wonderful Storybarn! Have a look at some of the brilliant entries over on The Storybarn’s website, with the shortlist also being featured on the Liverpool ECHO site.

Happy World Book Day from The Storybarn!

A major theme of every World Book Day, to children’s delight, is of course the fancy dress! All over the country on World Book Day children will be dressing up as their favourite book characters. The Storybarn gives children the chance to step into an interactive storytelling environment – including getting the chance to delve into the story-inspired dressing-up box –  and this will continue on World Book Day! Tickets are available for a day of fun and imagination while encouraging reading on World Book Day 2016.

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day and World Book Day

Last week was a particularly Readerly one as two back-to-back dates in the calendar gave us lots to celebrate.

Wednesday saw the annual global celebration of reading aloud, World Read Aloud Day. The Reader Organisation was proud to be a WRADvocate of World Read Aloud Day for the fourth year and marked the day by reading aloud with hundreds of people across the country in our shared reading groups. Reading aloud is a wonderful way of bringing communities together to share in emotional, deeply human and connecting experiences and nowhere are we better encapsulating that ethos than at Calderstones Mansion House, where we are creating an International Centre for Reading.

Elsewhere in Merseyside, our volunteers from the Merseyside Volunteer Reader Scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, shared what reading aloud means to them, in words that made us feel truly inspired. Some of the wonderful comments can be found below:

WRAD responses 1


“Reading aloud is…: pleasurable…a good way to gain confidence…people sharing their own experience…so enjoyable with a participating audience…a caress.”

“Reading aloud makes me feel…: involved…so much more aware of the power of a poem…alive…better.”

Our Readers on Twitter also shared in the World Read Aloud Day excitement:

I didn’t know such a day existed! So much poetry is only truly appreciated when you taste it on your tongue. I’m in! #WRAD15

‘The Listeners’ by Walter de la Mare is my favourite poem to read aloud! Reminds me of primary school- lovely memories #WRAD15

“Reading aloud makes me…want to be the voice of an audio book.” #WRAD15

The fun didn’t stop as we went straight into World Book Day on Thursday. We celebrated in style with City of Readers in a bookish extravaganza for younger bookworms at Calderstones Mansion, full of reading and crafty fun with create-your-own-book-covers. Our top three reads were also featured as part of Liverpool’s favourite books as compiled by the Liverpool Echo, sitting alongside such names as Ricky Tomlinson, Kevin Sampson, Peter Hooton and Kim Cattrall. Can you guess which trio we might have chosen? Take a look at Liverpool’s literature picks here.


Reading for the ages – and sexes

tinyreadsAhead of World Book Day, some recent surveys have revealed some interesting findings on reading amongst the generations and genders.

To celebrate the day dedicated to children’s reading, Sainsbury’s carried out a survey amongst 2,000 people to compile a list of 50 ultimate books that make up a child’s catalogue of reading. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory topped the poll, followed closely by Alice in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Roald Dahl proves to be a popular choice for kids and adults alike with four of his other works appearing in the list, and while contemporary titles such as the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series make appearances there’s a strong nostalgic flavour to much of the list that indicates that parents are choosing to share their own favourite stories from childhood with their children, passing on a love for classic tales through to the next generation.

We especially loved the finding from the survey that nearly three quarters of parents questioned believed that bedtime reading is one of the most important ways to bond with their children.

Read the full list of the 50 books every child should read before they’re 16 here

Yet even though many boys and girls read the same titles at a young age, growing older seems to set a distinction in the types of books the sexes favour. The Nielsen Bookscan Books and Consumer Survey 2015 shows that although nearly half of all books bought last year were for males, only 39% of adult fiction books were specifically targeted towards men – reinforcing the idea that men favour the factual in their reading, whether it be about politics, history or hobbies.

man readingTelegraph Men have asked whether men have fallen out of love with books in a world where thinking and feeling in-depth about emotions is still viewed as part of the female domain and instances of depression, anxiety and loneliness amongst men is on the rise. In our shared reading groups, great literature is open to everyone – male and female, young or older. The texts we read, from classics by Dickens and Eliot to contemporary short stories, create a safe space where emotional matters can be explored but the literature itself is always at the centre.

We welcome along lots of male readers to our weekly groups, some who have rediscovered reading after years. They may come to while away an hour and a half, but often find there’s much more to the groups than meets the eye:

“It’s done me a lot of good. It’s all right going the pub and having a laugh with your mates but sometimes you’ve got to, y’know, enrich your soul. I don’t sleep well at the best of times but this helps me relax. It’s a lot better than taking a Prozac!” – one of our shared reading group members

Following up from the article, The Telegraph has come up with a list of 19 books that make good reading for men, including Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe.

“It has confirmed for me that I am as good as anyone else…I am becoming the man I should have been.”- see how literature and shared reading can make an impact on male readers by taking a look at our Reader Stories

World Book Day 2013

WBD2013_turquoise_rightMarch is quite a busy month for literature lovers – not only was yesterday World Read Aloud Day (and we’re still recovering from all the read aloud fun), but today it’s World Book Day. We’re certainly enjoying having reading in the spotlight here at The Reader Organisation!

World Book Day 2013 is being celebrated in great style, with lots of great book events happening in the UK, as well as an online festival that can be caught from anywhere in the world. ‘The Biggest Book Show on Earth’ is happening for one hour only, 11am-12pm today, featuring nine big name bestselling authors and illustrators, including Liz Pichon, Francesca Simon and Anthony Horowitz. A show not to be missed! As ever, school kids can also get their hands on £1 World Book Day tokens which will allow them to get one of eight special World Book Day titles for free or money off a wide range of other books and audiobooks.

It’s the perfect day to pick up a book, and one ideal choice is A Little, Aloud for Children. For World Read Aloud Day yesterday you’ll have seen that we had fun reading ‘The Secret’, yet there’s plenty more great stories to share, all packed into its pages. If you’ve been enjoying a Little, Aloud for Children for a while now, or if you’re just discovering it in just in time for World Book Day, why not tell us about your favourite bits over on our A Little, Aloud blog? We’d love to know what you’ve been reading, and who you’ve been reading it with. Perhaps you’re even celebrating World Book Day by dressing up as one of the characters in the stories – maybe a Moomin, or Mr Toad?

Of course, World Book Day is just as much for adults as it is for kids. Though we’re certain that grown-ups will love A Little, Aloud for Children, there’s lots of brilliant stuff in A Little, Aloud too – a book so full it’s guaranteed to keep you going for well more than a day.

And, if you fancy choosing a book to read on World Book Day completely at random, there are fewer great places to start than looking through our Recommended Reads – books all recommended by The Reader Organisation staff. You might just meet your ideal book match…

Happy reading!

Celebrating World Book Day

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
ISBN 978-1844282784

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
ISBN 978-0001837119

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.

Michael Foreman, The Cat on the Hill
ISBN 978-1842704714

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

Aged 8-12

Jill Tomlinson, The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out
ISBN 978-1405210850

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
ISBN 978-0006716778

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
ISBN 978-0192728012

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!

Philip Pullman, Northern Lights
ISBN 978-0439951784

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’.

Merseyside Polonia presents: Lemistry

This World Book Day, Merseyside Polonia presents a thrilling trip into the world of science fiction, including very special guests Andy Sawyer, Director of MA in Science Fiction Studies at University of Liverpool, and award-winning author and screenwriter (and friend of The Reader Organisation) Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Lemistry celebrates the work of Polish author Stanislaw Lem, internationally renowned for his science fiction writing – including the novel Solaris, which has been adapted for film twice. Previous Lemistry events held across the UK have proved incredibly successful but the event, which will take place at Toxteth Library, will be the first time the series has come to Liverpool.

The event is dedicated to the recently published book of the same name, a celebration of the great Polish writer’s legacy featuring previously untranslated work, and a host of stories and essays responding to and influenced by his visions. Both guest stars have collaborated on Lemistry and will be reading, as well as discussing Lem’s work. There will also be an exclusive screening of the Quay Brothers’ film The Mask, a short animation based on one of Lem’s stories, as well as the chance to buy some of Lem’s books in English translation for a real bargain!

Merseyside Polonia is a Liverpool based organisation that is creating links between Polish and British culture, and present Lemistry in conjunction with Comma Press and The Polish Cultural Institute.

Thursday 1st March 2012, 6.30-8.30pm
Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF

The event is free and there will be tea and biscuits on arrival!

For more information, please contact Merseyside Polonia:  literature@merseysidepolonia.com 

Patrick Fisher: Storytelling Superstar!

World Book Day is fast approaching and this year they have launched a search to find the UK and Ireland’s best performer of stories for children – the first Storytelling Superstar.

We believe The Reader Organisation’s very own Patrick Fisher certainly has superstar potential, as anyone who saw his hilarious turn as MC Extraordinaire for last year’s Ha’Penny Readings in Liverpool will agree. As Reader-in-Residence for Glasgow schools, Patrick spends his days reading aloud with children across the city, bringing stories to life and capturing imaginations.

Here is Patrick’s brilliant Storytelling Superstar entry, complete with a truly impressive range of funny voices, Bird-Table Blues by Clare Bevan.


You can watch the other entries on the Storytelling Superstar YouTube channel. The competition closed on Sunday and the winner will be announced on World Book Day itself, 1st March.

Watch this space!

World Book Day 2009

In today’s Guardian, there is an article about the ‘books we only say we’ve read’ – something that all of us, no matter how well read, are guilty of. Today is World Book Day, a celebration of books and reading, so please do let us know what you’re currently reading and, if you are willing to confess, what your guilty secrets are. Mine? I purchased Don Quixote de la Mancha about three years ago and I still haven’t turned over the front cover. So, let’s celebrate what we are reading, not what we’re not. Here’s what some us in The Reader Organisation‘s office currently have on the go:

Clare Williams, Get Into Reading project worker and fundraiser

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, which is my bedtime read, and Helen Dunmore’s Love of Fat Men, that’s for the bus and train.

Sophie Povey, Get Into Reading project worker

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. I have to make sure I’m on my own when I’m reading it.

Chris Catterall, Business Manager

Strategic Management and Competitive Advantage by Jay Barney and William S Hesterly. (You can’t say it’s not a varied selection of books, can you?)

Lee Keating, Office Administrator

Women by Charles Bukowski. It’s looking at me from my breakfast bar saying ‘finish me’, I do love it though.

Jen Tomkins, Communications Officer

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Beautiful, magical and an epic portrayal of all aspects of the human spirit.

Wendy Kay, Get Into Reading project worker

Lots! Currently on the go are: Melvyn Bragg’s Remember MeLord Jim by Joseph Conrad and John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids.

Mark Till, Arts Administrator Intern

I’m about to start reading The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer.

How Books Die

April 23 is UNESCO World Book Day and over at the Kenyon Review Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky has a gloriously hangdog post about how books die:

If books are dust, then in this they are more like us than these flashes of light that you now read. Fragile, but strangely enduring, they are made to carry life. (And often made, it seems, with as little care, in momentary acts of commerce between fame and greed.) We’ve found better ways to cast our seeds, but none as moving, just as we’ve created more efficient objects of our inarticulate desires, and yet none so enduring.


Recommended Reads: In Celebration of World Book Day 2008

No, the book is not called In Celebration of World Book Day (if there are any aspiring concept novelists out there, an idea to consider perhaps) but this is a collection of ‘one-line’ book recommendations from The Reader office in order to celebrate World Book Day. A diverse and intriguing collection of titles and comments, we hope that you will be able to find something in the collection that will inspire you to get reading.

fantasticnight.jpg Fantastic Night, Stefan Zweig

I love Zweig’s writing. This collection of short stories is both evocative of everyday life in the first half of the last century, and also gently reminds me of how the lives of superficially unremarkable people can be anything but ordinary. The humanity in these stories has something very timeless.
Recommended by Marion Leibl, Administrator

david-copperfield.bmp David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

Tolstoy thought David Copperfield the greatest achievement of the greatest of all novelists. Read it for the great pleasure it will give you.
Recommended by Angela Macmillan, assistant editor of The Reader and GIR project worker

divingbellandthebutterfly.jpg The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby

Imagine that the only part of your body you can move is your eyelid. Imagine that inside you are having the most emotional, creative and beautiful thoughts that you have ever had. Now imagine having the pertinacity to communicate those thoughts, letter by letter by painstakingly moving your eyelid . Wouldn’t you think that book would be worth reading?
Recommended by Wendy Kay, GIR project worker

notesonascandal.jpg Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller

The brooding atmosphere of this novel leaves you caught between feeling pity and scorn for the lonely, bitter woman at its centre. Her obsession with a young and beautiful colleague is unhealthy and unnerving. As the story unfolds you begin to realise there is no escape and both women are doomed.
Recommended by Katie Atherton, GIR training co-ordinator

rememberme.jpg Remember Me, Melvyn Bragg

Due out in April: a raw and brave account of how his protagonist can never get over what goes wrong in a marriage.
Recommended by Phil Davis, editor of The Reader

bestozstories.jpg The Best Australian Stories, ed. Robert Drewe

This is the latest of several short story collections. I love reading them because it’s a taste of my home country. Some stories give a glimpse of colonial history, others give a taste of contemporary life and talk about my favourite streets and cafes. One story was set at the time when I was growing up and brought back fond childhood memories. The stories themselves are thoroughly enjoyable, and I love the short sharpness of reading a short story.
Recommended by Renee Hemmings, project manager – Shipping Lines Literary Festival

picturethis.jpg Picture This, Joseph Heller

Picture This is not one of Joseph Heller’s best novels, but I can forgive its faults because it contains observations such as this one: “On this point scholars agree: It is out of the question that [the Iliad and the Odyssey] could have been written entirely by one person, unless, of course, it was a person with the genius of Homer.”
Recommended by Chris Routledge, blogman

onceinahouse.jpg Once in a House on Fire, Andrea Ashworth

Unrelentingly realistic and unsentimental in its narration, chronicling the life story of a young girl trying to survive and overcome the tyrannies of a broken and abusive home life set against the dilapidated post-industrial landscape of Manchester, Once in a House on Fire is a truly beautiful book in its revelations of how the world of the imagination and the language of books can be accessed and appreciated and held on to as a source of inspiration for ordinary people in the bleakest of settings.
Recommended by Clare Williams, GIR project worker

sonsandlovers.jpg Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence

A hard-working, creative young man finds himself caught in a battle between his emotional and physical desires. As he struggles to make sense of his own life, his aspirations and his unerring dedication to his mother, Paul Morel discovers a conflict of loyalties that becomes his personal battleground.
Recommended by Jen Tomkins, PR, marketing and editorial assistant

garden.jpg The Garden of the Finzi Continis , Giorgio Bassani

One of the great modern Italian novels – set in the Jewish community of Ferrara in the late 1930s it is a beautiful and very moving act of memory, the novel itself being the breathing monument of those who were swallowed up by the death camps and left no trace, save in the memory of one who, like Ishmael, survived.
Recommended by John Scrivener, assistant editor of The Reader

prelude.jpg The Prelude, William Wordsworth

In William Wordsworth’s book-sized poem The Prelude you will find the struggling and marvelling human spirit written down in solid and moving lines. If you want the company of a great soul, read the poem slowly and eagerly, as if for the main news of the day, until you discover, as he says, ‘a grandeur in the beatings of the heart’.
Recommended by Sarah Coley, deputy editor of The Reader

mayorofcasterbridge.jpg The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy

One astonishing moment evokes sympathy and contempt throughout. A book for all.
Recommended by Chris Catterall, Business and Finance Intern

houseofmirth.bmp The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton

Read it and weep, contemporary writers: why can’t you do this you buck-makers? Stand back, see what we are, record it unflinchingly, make us change.
Recommended by Jane Davis, director of The Reader Organisation

Posted by Jen Tomkins