You are a reader…
If you’ve found this blog, by accident or intent, the chances are that you’re already a reader. The chances are that you understand the transforming power of books, the pure pleasure of plunging into someone else’s imagination or research, the delight of living other lives through the page and forgetting your own in the process.
Not everyone is a reader, though, and, of course, not all children get the chance to grow up to be the readers they could be. It’s a joy, therefore, as a bookseller, to be involved in World Book Day, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, with a message for all children: ‘you are a reader’.
WBD’s mission is to offer every child the opportunity to have – and, crucially, to choose – a book of their own: for free. It’s a fabulous initiative, supported by the National Literacy Trust, by libraries, by Football League clubs (including all the Premier League) and by bookshops and publishers. Over 15 million WBD vouchers are distributed, and each can be exchanged for a newly written WBD-exclusive title from authors such as Michael Morpurgo and Sophie McKenzie. There are books for beginners all the way through to fluent and independent readers.
It’s a crazy week for book retailers up and down the country, who have been busy creating exciting events to support World Book Day. Here at Gerrards Cross and Chorleywood Bookshops, we have colleagues taking authors into schools every day, opening up a world of possibilities for young people of all ages. We have children coming into the stores to redeem their WBD vouchers. Watching them choose is lovely, and watching them clutch their books close as they leave, with massive smiles on their faces, is even lovelier. The message they’re getting – as they come into environments where books are valued and words are currency, and as they arrive home and curl up with something new and personal to open and explore – is ‘you are a reader’.