Read Manchester celebrated World Book Day 2019 in style!

30 Apr 2019

Read Manchester celebrated World Book Day 2019 with numerous fantastic author events and activities across the city.

Highlights of activity from Read Manchester, Libraries and Manchester Airport include:

  • Books gifted: 5,035
  • Children meeting an author/illustrator: 1,570 (from 19 schools)
  • Number of children read to by Manchester Airport staff/volunteers: 2,485 (from 8 schools)
  • 69% of children said they would read more as a result of attending Share a Story Live
share a story.jpg

Share a Story Live

Read Manchester worked in partnership with World Book Day UK to bring authors to the city for a fantastic event at the Visitor Runway Park.

World Book Day’s diverse line-up of award-winning authors and illustrators rallied 700 local children and young people around the excitement of sharing stories - live on stage.

Compèred by Steven Butler, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlisted children’s author, actor and playwright, the event boasted a stellar line up:

  • Best-selling author of The Christmasaurus, Tom Fletcher
  • Creator of the How to Train your Dragon franchise, Cressida Cowell
  • World Book Day’s official illustrator for 2019 and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner, Rob Biddulph
  • Two best-selling World Book Day 2019 authors, Alex T. Smith (Claude: Best In Show) and Abi Elphinstone (Everdark)

Children receive books on World Book Day

Book gifting and goody bags

Read Manchester gifted goody bags to each child and member of teaching staff. The bags contained various book related activities, a feedback form and an activity from our partners in Highways.

Children were also given three free books:

  • Each child exchanged their £1 World Book token for one of the books published for this year’s World Book Day
  • Our partners, Manchester Airport gifted each child a copy of their book, Reach for the Sky
  • Thanks to our partnership with the Social Value team from Highways, MCC contractor Kiely Bros generously gifted each child a book by one of the attending authors

Children queued eagerly to get their books signed. In total, over 2,000 books were gifted at the Share a Story event.

Read Manchester School Champion feedback

Primary schools were invited to apply to become Read Manchester School Champions and for the opportunity to attend the Share a Story event. 11 schools were selected and invited to bring up to 60 children each. We are currently collating feedback and will work with these schools to support reading in their schools and explore how we develop best practice in reading across the Primary Sector.

Teacher’s comments:

  • '[The event had given them] lots of ideas to ignite the children’s passion [for reading]’
  • (Most memorable part of the day) ‘Listening to the author’s life stories of how they eventually became writers’
  • (Most memorable part of the day) ‘Seeing the authors and seeing the kids happy and inspired. Lovely venue!’
  • ‘Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity – our children will remember this for a long time to come’.

Feedback from children attending Share a Story Live

Five hundred and twenty feedback forms were collected from children and the information provided will inform our future work with our Champion Schools.

Headlines include:

  • 69% of children said they would read more as a result of our event
  • Of those who say they will read more, currently: 40% are ‘always reading’, 37% ‘read quite a lot’, 22% ‘read sometimes’ and 1% ‘barely read at all’
  • 36% of children had never met an author before
  • 42% of children chose Tom Fletcher as their favourite author, followed by Cressida Cowell and Alex T. Smith as joint second

Books from the Harry Potter series were mentioned most frequently as the ‘last book you read at home’, followed by books from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and then books from the Percy Jackson series.

Alex T. Smith and Abi Elphinstone visit schools in the afternoon

read manchester world book day 2019

Two further schools benefited from Read Manchester’s World Book Day. Alex T. Smith raced off to Old Moat after the Runway event (see collage above), while Abi Elphinstone entertained children at Cavendish. Each child at Old Moat (240) received a copy of Alex’s World Book Day book in exchange for their voucher, and 100 World Book Day books were exchanged for vouchers at Cavendish.

Press and social media

Both BBC and ITV sent their local news teams to the Share a Story event (see BBC coverage at the top of the page). The media reach of print and TV was nearly six million people.

Print and TV was also supported by social media, with the authors and partners tweeting and sharing about the event.


In addition to Library teams supporting the Share a Story Live event, author and actor (and compere at the Share a Story event!) Steve Butler entertained children at Central Library on Friday 8 March. Six schools were offered the chance to meet Steve, bringing 290 children to the three hour long sessions in the library.

Libraries also invited school classes in to library venues over the course of the World Book Day week or attended assemblies in schools to promote the free library offer. In addition, 5,000 World Book Day books were purchased by Libraries to gift at community events and to visiting school children over the course of the next 12 months.

Manchester Airport

manchester wbd3.jpg

The Manchester Airport Group are partners in Read Manchester and represented on the Steering Group. Their staff and volunteers worked with 8 local schools and read to 2,485 children during World Book Day. Volunteer readers were recruited through business partnerships with BW3 in Wythenshawe and KSG in Knutsford.

The children were able to exchange their World Book Day vouchers for the £1 books through the Airport’s partnership with WHSmith, thereby ensuring that every child went home with a book.