This isn't the place to recount all the terrifying new policies, or comment on the potential disastrous consequences. Instead, I want to invite you into a new world with a glimmer of hope, hidden away in your local library, or children's school.
World Book Day [this year on 3 March] is a compelling celebration of books and reading which is recognised by UNESCO and is marked in 100 countries worldwide. It is a wonderful reminder to celebrate all that books bring us and what a source of great pleasure, and fun, they are to us and young readers.
The mention of World Book Day makes me break out into a cold sweat. I love getting lost in a good book. I love sharing books from my childhood with my children, and discovering new ones. I love the idea behind World Book Day.
There's nothing more likely to strike fear into the hearts of parents and PTAs than the bedtime cries of "Muuuuuuuum, Daaaaad! I need a costume for school tomorrow!" Especially if, like me, your attempt at a pin-cushion during school needlework class was mistaken for an ashtray.
This week we celebrated World Book Day, but I want to urge you to use the event as an opportunity to remind yourself of those books which have most influenced you at any point in your life.
A lot has been written about World Book Day, and rightly so.A celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. Shared in over one hundred countries. A beautifully uncomplicated premise in an otherwise complicated world. And yet, like any parade, some people can't wait to piss on it. The main target of their ire, dressing up.
In America, Tom Paine's writings spurred the revolution for independence. Or closer to our own time; consider how the Nazis burnt books of which that they were scared. It's easy to see that books have power if they are being fought over because of the ideas they contain.
There's a rush on at Hobbycraft, Facebook is filled with kids in cardboard, and A&E is experiencing higher than average craft-glue related injuries. Yes folks it's World Book Day, the date circled red on every parent's calendar
n a Western society, words are everywhere. Adverts on the tube, bus on billboards. There are words on our mobile phones, we can get apps which tell us the latest news, which tells us what is trending and which celebrity is pregnant, has been arrested or has overdosed...
Getting children to love reading and writing can prove to be a challenge, especially with television, films and games being it's most harsh competitors. Having some family reading time can be very powerful. If your child sees you replacing TV with books then they are more likely to be inspired to get excited about it too.
There aren't many times in your life when you can look back to a seemingly insignificant moment in time and say, "I really think I made a difference there." But that moment happened to me only two weeks ago now, and it's still a day I look back on with a smiles, laughter... and a grimace. Are you sure you want to know the tale? Well, okay then. You asked for it.
As Gathered Light, a collection of Joni Mitchell's poetry is about to hit the book shelves, I speak with writers Lisa and John Sornberger about their long time kinship with the songwriter's work and compiling the Joni endorsed collection.
I am in the curious position of being about to realise a life-long dream - that of having a book published and, even more cherished, a children's book at that.
There is, I hear, a thing called 'extreme reading'. From what I can tell, this involves being photographed wielding a book in an odd - preferably unco...
Happy World Book Day - I hope you find a space in your day to curl up with something good to read. But in these days of the read/write web, Kindles, ebooks and social networking, I think it's a good day to celebrate literacy of all kinds.