World Book Day: our impact in 2021

29 Mar 2021

It has been nearly a month since World Book Day and we wanted to take stock of what we achieved in partnership with the brilliant World Book Day charity to spread the joy of reading with children and families.

Over the last 24 years, World Book Day has been changing lives through a love of books and shared reading. Through its colourful and annual celebration of books and reading in classrooms and bookshops and libraries all over the country it has given millions of children a book of their own and encouraged reading for pleasure.

It was a challenge to recreate this celebration while everyone was locked down and schools were open only for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

We are delighted to say that through our World Book Day activity in partnership with the charity’s team we had a unique but impactful World Book Day, reaching over 5.6million people through the media and distributing 85,000 books.

The below infographic shows the extent and range of our activity.

World Book Day NLT impact infographic Final.png

Virtual events

Acklam Whin’s royally good day

We held a virtual celebration event with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in partnership with World Book Day and Oak National Academy. Children at Acklam Whin Primary School in Middlesbrough were surprised by Her Royal Highness as well as three of the World Book Day £1 Book authors: Tom Fletcher, Zanib Mian and Katherine Rundell! Over 20,000 people viewed the event in the first 24 hours of it being on Oak National Academy's Virtual School Library. What’s more, the Royal Family posted about it on social media, amassing an incredible 225,000 likes!

HRH and authors.JPG

Premier League’s Facebook takeover

We also held a Facebook Live with World Book Day £1 Book authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton which featured world class football stars including Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard. The video generated an incredible 19,000 views – and the live audience were treated to a football-tastic quiz! This can still be watched on our Words for Life site.

Cressida Cowell celebrates Connecting Stories

As part of our Connecting Stories initiative, Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell virtually visited 73 schools across our 14 Hubs areas. In the live-stream event, Cressida delighted children with information on her writing process and gave tips on becoming an author and illustrator. Children were also engaged with an exciting Q&A session, where Cressida shared her World Book Day wish that “all children could have access to books and libraries like sweetie shops” and read as many books as possible. You can read more here.

Bumper book donations

We delivered a total of 85,000 books thanks to our partners – including the publishers of the World Book Day £1 Books - no mean feat considering the country was still in full lockdown! Getting books into the hands of children and young people is so important: our research found that children who own their own books are nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading. What’s more, many children and young people have struggled to access books with the closure of both schools and libraries.

football stories small image.JPG

The Premier League spreads the joy of reading

The Premier League and World Book Day helped us distribute nearly 25,000 books as professional football club community organisations across the country gave out books to children in their local areas. Pupils participating in the Premier League Primary Stars education programme each received a free copy of World Book Day £1 title Football School: 20 Fantastic Football Stories by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton.

The news was also featured on the Premier League app, meaning over 8 million players around the world had a chance to read about the brilliant book donations.

Morrisons Foundation engages 125,000 children

In partnership with Morrisons Foundation, 497 book bundles were distributed to schools across the country, to encourage 125,000 children to discover a love of reading for pleasure.

The bundles included titles such as The Extraordinary Life of Amelia Earhart by Sheila Kanani and The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance by Clare Balding. Books have provided vital comfort and inspiration for many during lockdown – and we hope children and young people lose themselves in the magic of these books.

This year’s World Book Day was nothing short of amazing. Children deserved an incredible celebration and we did our utmost thanks to our partners to put on a show for thousands upon thousands of children, families and teachers across the country. We delivered a magical assembly with HRH, brought world-class football players into front rooms and classrooms and engaged young readers and would-be readers with inspiration virtual author talks. This is just a snapshot of what we achieved in partnership with World Book Day. We cannot wait to celebrate again next year for the charity’s 25th anniversary.

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust