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World Book Day 25th anniversary this year: see the plans afoot...

World Book Day is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year on Thursday 3rd March.

Celebrations will feature a number of partnerships including the charity joining forces with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Cressida Cowell, Children's Laureate and illustrator Chris Riddell will be featured, joined by some of the cast of "Matilda: The Musical", inspired by our favourite young bibliophile.

Hosted by rapper MC Grammar and streamed live from the WBD website, the celebrations will also feature Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Humza Arshad, Allen Fatimaharan and Hannah Lee among others.

As part of the event, authors and illustrators, including Lydia Monks, Bryon, Adeola and Ben Bailey-Smith, will be paired with emerging writers and illustrators of colour to spotlight their work.

WBD will also partner with BookTrust and Cowell on a special edition of the #PassThePen campaign, to highlight the importance of inclusive stories.

“This milestone anniversary is an important moment for the charity to reflect on the past 25 years and look forward to the future," said Cassie Chadderton, CEO of WBD. "We will be engaging with more children than ever to promote reading for pleasure. 

“There are still 400,000 children in the UK who don’t have a book of their own, so our focus is to ensure as many children as possible receive a World Book Day £1 book this year, alongside providing lots of opportunities for everyone to celebrate and read together."

 “World Book Day and its partners, including booksellers and publishers, help provide books to children who need them most in the UK, Ireland and across the world. We’re thrilled that so many will be taking part on our 25th birthday. This will help us ensure we reach more communities, families and children, and help them discover a love for reading.”

This year, McDonald’s is extending its existing partnership with WBD by supporting it across all UK restaurants. The £1 book token will feature on WBD themed Happy Meal boxes from 2nd to 15th March, providing more than 5.3 million tokens. Animated menu screens will promote the token, in addition to drive-through outdoor banners, featuring the strapline "Open up a World of Fun".

Children and families visiting McDonald’s on WBD will also get to receive a free book alongside their Happy Meal. Participating titles include Mr Silly: My Book About Me by Adam and Roger Hargreaves (Penguin Random House) or There’s A Wolf In My Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott (Penguin Random House). 

The day will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of Harry Potter and Bloomsbury has partnered with the charity to advertise a competition on a printed book token. The £1 book token is distributed through schools, nurseries and via BookTrust and the Scottish BookTrust. 

Seventy-five professional football club community organisations in England and Wales will also distribute 22,000 £1 books to schools through the Premier League Primary Stars programme leading up to WBD.

The National Literacy Trust’s 15 Hub Areas in England will work alongside local libraries and retailers to distribute 34,000 £1 books to children and create a WBD programme of events and activities to encourage more families to read. This work is funded by an Arts Council England project grant and McDonald’s, supported by Libraries Connected and by donations of the 2022 £1 books from publishers.

WBD will also continue to work with partners including Read For Good and Children’s Books Ireland to supply 43,000 books to schools, prisons and other community spaces.

The Scottish Book Trust will ensure 3,000 picture books reach families directly through its Bookbug for the Home programme, as well as distributing 84,000 tokens to Early Years settings in Scotland. BookTrust is also distributing 90,000 £1 book tokens via their BookStart coordinators.

Two digital events will see £1 book authors and illustrators including Bryon, Adeola, Simon Farnaby, Sharna Jackson and Nadia Shireen read and share their favourite stories

There will also be support from a range of existing partners in 2022, including Sainsbury’s, the Beano, Royal Mail, BBC Education, Libraries Connected and the Association of Senior Children’s & Education Librarians. The campaign will be endorsed online using the new World Book Day 25th anniversary emoji. 

Resources including activity sheets and discussion guides for parents and teachers will be available on the WBD website. 

Official WBD illustrator Allen Fatimaharan will embark on a two-day window tour of bookshops in the west of England between Oxford and Bristol in February, decorating shopfront windows, to help high streets celebrate the 25th birthday.

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