Five of the UK's best-loved children's authors and illustrators have been in Manchester today to take part in a special 'Share a Story Live' event to mark World Book Day and to bring books to life for over 1000 children from local schools.
The stellar line-up of authors included Children's Laureate and creator of How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell; TV and radio presenter, and author of Toto the Ninja Cat series, Dermot O'Leary; and bestselling authors Onjali Q. Rauf (The Day We Met The Queen), and Robin Stevens (The Case of the Drowned Pearl: A Murder Most Unladylike Mini-Mystery). The event was compered by Steven Butler - the Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlisted author, actor, and playwright.
The authors joined pupils at the UK National Cycling Centre in east Manchester for a morning packed with books and stories. They were also joined at the event by world champion BMX riders including Quillan Isidore, Bethany Shriever, Ross Cullen, and Paddy Sharrock who competes internationally for Great Britain.
Pupils from eighteen primary schools in the city took part in the event which also saw them take home goody bags filled with free books.
Author Dermot O'Leary said: "The message of World Book Day is so important. It's a day to celebrate the joy of reading which is so crucial if children are to grow into connected and compassionate adults. I love visiting schools and chatting to the kids about what they enjoy reading and writing about, so have been delighted to be part of the Share a Story Live event on World Book Day."
World Book Day’s successful ‘Share a Story’ campaign encourages parents and carers to spend ten minutes every day reading with their child.
This year, to build on the phenomenal success of the campaign, World Book Day is also calling on the nation to Share a Million Stories in schools, libraries, bookshops,at home, everywhere and anywhere, throughout World Book Day month (27th February - 29th March). Sharing stories at any time from breakfast until bedtime, for just 10 minutes a day, will have a lasting impact on every child’s future.
Kirsten Grant, Director of World Book Day, said: "World Book Day is committed to increasing its social impact year-on-year. It's our vision to offer every child in the UK the opportunity to read and love books. Having the chance to be inspired by this amazing range of authors and illustrators will have an enormous impact on how the children in the audience view books and reading."
The event was organised by World Book Day in association with Read Manchester - which is a partnership between the council and the National Literacy Trust to improve literacy levels across the city.
Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive, National Literacy Trust, said: “When families share stories at home and children enjoy reading, they do better at school and in later life. We must do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime."
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: “It's been a fantastic World Book Day here in Manchester. Brilliant books really do have the power to change lives. Not only do they fire the imagination, research shows that regular reading helps build the foundations of future success for children, and also that it’s never too late to start."