Happy World Book Day! There are lots of fun activities going on all over the world today, including school children dressing up as their favourite characters, a whole host of competitions and authors talking about their favourite books of all time.
Of course I enjoy reading and talking about books all year round, but today is a great chance to celebrate just how awesome they are and the impact they’ve had on my life. I’ll be sharing my first memories of reading and a list of reasons why books are amazing, as well as a very embarrassing photo from World Book Day in the 1990s.
But first, here’s the low-down on some of the main events and ways you can get involved:
Free Book Tokens
Thanks to National Book Tokens and lots of lovely book publishers and booksellers, more than 14 million £1 World Book Day book tokens will be distributed to children today. The tokens can be used to get £1 off any full-price book or swapped for one of the 10 £1 Books, which include two YA reads-Geek Girl and Killing the Dead.
- Enter the World Book Day Lucky Dip for a chance to win Diary of a Wimpy Kid prizes.
- Win a set of 20 Puffin Classics (ends April 2nd). The set includes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Huckleberry Finn, Little Women, Black Beauty, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book and Treasure Island (see image, right).
- Share your first memory of reading for the chance to win a £50 ($65) book token. You can also find out which books changed the lives of some famous children’s authors.
- CITV Share a Story Competition-Have you got a brain full of brilliant stories? Can you draw the coolest characters in the country? Do you want to see your brilliant stories and cool characters on TV? Well, this is the competition for you!
My First Memories of Reading
My mum taught me to read when I was very small, before I started primary school. Some of the first books I remember enjoying are The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Spot the Dog, Going on a Bear Hunt, Winnie the Pooh and the Beatrix Potter stories, all of which are charmingly fun and whimsical.
As I got a little older, Mum and Nanny introduced me to Enid Blyton and we would read The Magic Faraway Tree, Mr Pinkwhistle and The Wishing Chair together, which I’m still very fond of today.
Eventually I was reading The Famous Five stories alone under the covers. I also loved anything by Roald Dahl-Danny, Champion of the World was my favourite. Then at eleven, I read Harry Potter for the first time and my love-affair with fantasy fiction truly began.
I also have a brilliant memory from World Book Day years and years ago, when I must have been 9 or 10 years old. We all had to dress up as a character from one of our favourite books, so naturally all the other girls went as princesses. I, however, decided to go as Huckleberry Finn.
|Defying stereotypes since 1998!|
Reasons Why Books are Amazing
1) Books allow you to vicariously experience things that you may never chance to do, like safari in Africa or travel into space. You can imagine yourself in roles completely different from your own, which allows you to explore sides of your personality that may be hidden. As a reader you can travel around the world and ‘be’ several different people in a single night.
2) Reading is a great way to learn about new things. While enjoying a good book (even fiction), you pick up all kinds of facts and information about the world, both consciously and subconsciously. Books open up your mind, as they allow you to experience the world from someone else’s perspective, and you may just discover things that challenge your own world-view.
3) Books provide much-needed escapism from the mundane aspects of everyday life, allowing you to relax. What better way to kick-back after a boring or stressful day at the office than to immerse yourself in a faraway fantasy land?
4) Books can be a comfort when you’re feeling lonely and misunderstood, or going through difficult times. When you really connect with an author’s voice, it can feel like listening to an old friend-someone we really relate to and understand. Check out these 51 books that prove reading can change your life.
5) Unlike TV and film, books don’t show all the visual details of the characters and settings, so we use our imagination to fill in the blanks, which stretches our creative muscles. We each create a vivid mental picture of the story, so our experience of the book is completely unique to us.
6) When you think about it, the act of reading is pretty incredible in itself. The very fact that we can understand a bunch of printed symbols on paper, written by authors perhaps thousands of miles or years apart from us, then bring the stories to life in our minds, is pretty amazing. Books transcend time and space, and a good story lives in us forever.
7) Reading can boost your creative writing skill, as you subconsciously learn the author’s craft and techniques. Reading can also help to improve your spelling, grammar and pronunciation without you even noticing. Some claim it can even make you a more confident speaker and a more natural conversationalist.
8) Books can be wildly funny, heart-wrenchingly tragic, nail-bitingly tense or reflective and poignant. There’s a book for every mood and sometimes you experience the full range of human emotions in just one sitting-tears streaming down your cheeks one minute and clutching your sides laughing the next. It’s a roller-coaster, but some of us love to FEEL.
9) Books are a great talking point and a brilliant way to get to know other people-whether that’s through chatting and recommending your favourite reads, loaning books to your friends, joining a book club or participating in an online community like Goodreads.
10) Books both look and smell, AMAZING.
“Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer, it has no texture, no context. It’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then the getting of knowledge should be tangible. It should be smelly.” ~Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Did you do anything to celebrate World Book Day this year? What are some of your first memories of reading? Do you agree that books are amazing, and if so, why?
I just stopped by to check out your blog. I've signed up for yet another year of the A to Z Challenge and look forward to reading many, many posts next month…;~)
Donna L Martin
author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)