I think we all agree that anything which gets our kids off a screen and into a proper book has to be a good thing. Even now, with so many ways to read, phones, tablets and computers, you still can’t beat holding something real. A book you can flick through, mark the pages you love, turn over the corners, something you can really make your own. It’s like you’ve invested a little piece of you into that reading experience.

Be honest, have you ever come across a book the kids read, or you read to them when they were young, and smiled as the memories of that time shared came back to you. I have and it just happened to be a complete set of Disney storybooks. I can remember like it was yesterday (it wasn’t by the way), reading those books to my son over and over again. Try and do that with an electronic device.

Don’t get me wrong, here in the SOUTH WALES LIFE office we have everything you can imagine, and most of them are filled with our favourite reads. But there are still shelves crammed with the real things. Books we go back to time and time again. So we say say, let’s celebrate the beauty of books and get our kids involved with this years WORLD BOOK DAY.

First of all a couple of things about this brilliant event. First, it’s not just a day. Well, yes it happens on March 5th, so we guess it is a day. The activities around the day are ongoing and encourage our kids to read and write.

WORLD BOOK DAY is actually a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

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This year will be the 23rd World Book Day, and on 5th March, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. Very loudly and very happily. The main aim of World is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

To enable this, the charity will be sending schools (including those nurseries and secondary schools that have specially registered to participate), packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs (age-ranged into Nursery/Pre-School, Primary and Secondary) full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.

If it wasn’t for the generosity of National Book Tokens Ltd, publishers and booksellers, WBD couldn’t send millions of book tokens to children and young people (some 15 million, in fact: that’s one for nearly every child aged under eighteen in the country).

What the kids do then is take their book token to a local bookseller and use it to pick one of TEN (exclusive, new and completely free) books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club (terms and conditions apply).

We really like the idea of picking up something new. Maybe a book the kids would never have thought of reading, or an author they haven’t interacted with previously. It’s all about getting kids closer to the books and authors they already love, and letting them discover more books and authors they’ll love every bit as much in the future.

I suppose the big question is, does something like WORLD BOOK DAY work? Research found that children who participate in the activities are more engaged in reading and books than those who don’t.

  • Nearly 3 in 5 felt that they read more books
  • Nearly half say they buy more books
  • Over 2 in 5 borrow and share more books
  • A third also read more with their parents due to taking part in World Book Day, with half of those believing they subsequently read more independently (The National Literacy Trust’s Annual Literacy Survey, 2019)
  • 1 in 4 pupils (25.2%) say that the book they ‘bought’ with their 2016 World Book Day book token was their first book of their own.
  • Amongst children receiving free school meals, this number increased to 3 in 10 (32.9%; National Literacy Trust, 2017)
  • Lower income families are likely to discover books through World Book Day (Nielsen, 2018)

Last year they were able to evaluate the impact the event had……

  • A ‘Share A Story’ Tour across the country and visits to hard to reach children
  • Increased engagement from educational establishments, libraries and booksellers.
  • Political Engagement from No. 10 and across the House of Commons.
  • The #ReadingisPower campaign, run by and for young people
  • Increased media coverage from 5,500 to 6,824 between 2018 and 2019

Tokens are valid during World Book Day month from Thursday 27th February – Sunday 29th March. All you need to do is to take your token to your local bookseller and swap it for one of the fifteen exclusive, brand new and completely FREE World Book Day books, including ONE Irish title and TWO books exclusive to Wales.

As we mentioned WORLD BOOK DAY encourages reading for the rest of the year too and they’ve got a whole range of resources including lesson plans, activity sheets, discussion guides and more. They really do encourages children to enjoy benefits of reading for pleasure, through activities, resources and inspiration throughout the year.

They also have monthly lists of new book releases, to encourage children and young people of all ages to get reading. And you can hear from your favourite authors in one of their author Q & As.

If you’d like to see more about how World Book Day works, BOOKS.

Here in Wales we’ll be celebrating too with special events in the day itself. WORLD BOOK DAY WALES will again be held on Thursday, 5th March. Resource packs will be sent out to all registered schools and settings. If you have not received your pack by the end of January please contact wbd@education.co.uk.

ADDITIONAL WELSH-LANGUAGE BOOKS
There are two additional Welsh-language books available only in Wales.

Darllen gyda Cyw by Anni Llŷn, which follows the tales of popular S4C favourites Cyw and her friends.  (Published by Y Lolfa)

Stori Cymru – Iaith a Gwaith by Myrddin ap Dafydd (Published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)  

To order the books please contact the Welsh Books council by calling 01970-624455 or you can email them at: distribution.centre@books.wales. World Book Day Wales is coordinated by the Welsh Books Council and supported by the Welsh Government.

Diwrnod y Llyfr
Cynhelir Diwrnod y Llyfr ar ddydd Iau, 5 Mawrth. Bydd pecynnau adnoddau yn cael eu hanfon allan i ysgolion a safleoedd sydd wedi cofrestru. Os nad ydych wedi derbyn eich pecyn erbyn diwedd Ionawr, cysylltwch gyda wbd@education.co.uk

LLYFRAU IAITH GYMRAEG YCHWANEGOL
Mi fydd yna dau lyfr Cymraeg ychwanegol ar gael yng Nghymru yn unig.

Darllen gyda Cyw gan Anni Llŷn (Cyhoeddwyd gan Y Lolfa)

Stori Cymru – Iaith a Gwaith gan Myrddin ap Dafydd (Cyhoeddwyd gan Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)  

I archebu copi o’r llyfrau hwn cysylltwch gyda’r Cyngor Llyfrau ar 01970 624455 / canolfan.ddosbarthu@llyfrau.cymru

Mae Diwrnod y Llyfr yng Nghymru yn cael ei gydlynu gan Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru a’i gefnogi gan Lywodraeth Cymru. Dylid cyfeirio unrhyw ymholiad ynglŷn â Diwrnod y Llyfr at Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.

Ffôn: 01970 624151 E-bost: cllc.plant@llyfrau.cymru

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The Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival is back and it’s had a makeover! The award-winning family festival returns with an exciting new format and an inspiring programme of authors, illustrators and workshops, all taking place on one jam-packed weekend in City Hall and National Museum, Cardiff so why not go and spend the day with them!

It’s running at the City Hall & National Museum on the 25th and 26th April from 10.00am.

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