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09/01/2018 16:12 GMT | Updated 09/01/2018 17:25 GMT

World Book Day 2018: When Is It And Why Does It Happen?

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What with all the panic about trying to think up a costume for their kids on World Book Day, the real meaning of the annual event can get lost.

World Book Day is meant to be the perfect opportunity for parents, teachers and kids to join together in appreciation of the world of literature and the life-long pleasure of reading.  

And in an increasingly digital world, there is no better opportunity to get back to books.

When is World Book Day this year?

Every year, World Book Day falls on the same day in the UK, the first Thursday in March. So in 2018, that day will be Thursday 1 March.  

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What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading around the world. Established by UNESCO, it is a one-day festival, which is celebrated in over 100 countries all over the globe.  

This year’s theme is “Share A Story” and adults, parents and older siblings are encouraged to participate by reading and sharing stories. The organisers will be encouraging the nation to ‘Take 10’ and recognise the positive impact that reading together for only 10 minutes a day can have on a child.

To give parents and children ideas of what to read next, World Book Day have launched a nationwide poll to find the nation’s favourite #storiestoshare. You can vote here

Who celebrates World Book Day?

World Book Day is for school children of all ages, with the primary aim of encouraging children to explore book and the joy of reading.  

When did World Book Day start?

This is the twentieth anniversary of World Book Day being recognised in the United Kingdom. But the first ever World Book Day in the world took place on the 23 April 1995. 

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Why does World Book Day happen?

The idea of celebrating books at the end of April originally came from booksellers in Catalonia, Spain, in 1923. This was when writer Vicente Clavel Andres wanted to honour fellow author Miguel de Cervantes who died on this date. It is also coincidentally the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

How do World Book Day tokens work? 

Provided by the National Book Tokens Ltd, publishers and booksellers, millions of book vouchers are sent to children and young people across the country.

Every year, 15 million of these tokens are dispatched, that’s one for nearly every child aged under eighteen in Britain. 

Once your child receives their voucher, they can take it to a local bookseller and pick one of ten exclusive new books to take home for free. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get one pound off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club. 

UNESCO also provides age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs, full of activities for your child to take part in.

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