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You Are a Reader: World Book Day 2022

By Caitlin Davies, Danielle Hernandez and Georgia Rees


Photo by @worldbookdaysocial on Instagram

On World Book Day’s 25th birthday, it is fair to say that its influence upon children's literacy is undeniable. From book-themed fancy dress competitions to book tokens, this day has become an integral part of school life. Devised by UNESCO in 1995, World Book Day was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 1997. Their mission is “to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.” This year, it will be celebrated on Thursday 3 March 2022.


In a recent study, it was found that around 3 in 5 (62.4%) UK children aged 8 to 11 enjoy reading (National Literacy Trust). Whilst the report highlighted many positives around children's literacy, it highlighted that “some children lacked access to a local library, and several had never visited a bookshop.” This year’s theme ‘you are a reader’ is particularly meaningful in light of these findings. Its messaging is encouraging and inclusive, reaching out to children across all genders, races, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. In this article, we will be delving into this campaign and the portrayal of this message across a range of activities.


CEO Cassie Chadderton told The Bookseller that, this year, the charity’s mission felt “even more relevant than it did before.” They will be pulling out all the stops to encourage children to engage with reading and champion new names in children’s literature.

World Book Day has been instrumental in exciting children about reading and introducing them to plenty of new authors. Celebrated widely within schools and bookstores, it is a huge opportunity for publishers to spread the word about their newest releases and get them featured on the coveted £1 book list – a selection of books that children can purchase for ‘free’ with £1 book tokens. This year’s list is one of the most diverse yet, featuring names such as Ben Bailey Smith, Sharna Jackson, Nadia Shireen and the author-illustrator duo Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola. The charity makes the most of this opportunity by teaming up with Cressida Cowell on her #PassThePen campaign to spotlight the work of emerging writers and illustrators of colour. Published authors and illustrators such as Sharna Jackson, Francesca Simon, Holly Smale, Lydia Monks and Cowell herself will ‘pass the pen’ – hand over their social media accounts – to up-and-coming creators of colour to give children the chance to read a “range of books that reflect them and their wider communities.”

Added events include a BBC Teach Live Lesson with Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Dapo Adeola and two virtual events teaching children how to write about their own real and imagined worlds. The cast of Matilda will give an exciting livestream performance featuring authors Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell and Greg James, in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Story Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Publisher campaigns surrounding World Book Day


World Book Day is a long-standing, well-established celebration of reading. It would only make sense that children’s publishers would also take advantage of this day to engage with their audiences and market some of their favourite kids’ books. Usborne Books is a fantastic example of how beneficial it can be to go all-in with the complementary World Book Day campaign.

As World Book Day is an important day in the school calendar – and after an incredibly challenging time last year with most pupils learning at home – Usborne have created some extra special events this year for pupils from all ages to take part in. Firstly, a range of free activities will be available online to encourage students to more thoroughly engage in their latest reading adventure. Easily accessible through YouTube, this content promotes the inclusivity so closely tied to the World Book Day mission and features video content from some of Usborne’s authors and editors. These different activities will no doubt be a go-to resource for many teachers in the classroom.

Usborne hasn’t stopped there. They will also be offering a range of live events through the team of Independent Usborne Partners. Teachers looking to go above and beyond on 3 March have the option to utilise their local Independent Usborne Partner to plan and host a bespoke event for their school, free of charge. The events themselves display an impressive variety too, with everything from book fairs and sponsored readings to author visits and story time sessions.

The days of home learning during the pandemic greatly illuminated the need for more inclusive educational resources – an important and timely issue for the target audience of children’s publishers. Usborne seems to be responding to this by providing an array of accessible resources this World Book Day to help every child fall in love with reading. While these activities might not lead to the direct purchase of an Usborne book or product, running this campaign alongside World Book Day will undeniably build positive brand associations for Usborne Books and may even turn an interested observer into a future customer.

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