World Book Day

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It sometimes feels as if technology is taking over our children’s lives.  So many screens, so many gadgets, such short attention spans! As a self-confessed bookworm, I worry that my young son may grow up with a smartphone glued to his hand and a glazed look in his eye, unable to slow down for the pleasures of a good book. 

World Book Day, on Thursday 7th March, is an excellent reminder that the written word is still alive and kicking. This annual celebration of authors, illustrators and books encourages children to discover the joys of reading, and helps to nurture another generation of bibliophiles.

I worry that my young son may grow up with a smartphone glued to his hand and a glazed look in his eye, unable to slow down for the pleasures of a good book.World Book Day is a registered charity that aims to give every child a book of their own. Schools are provided with a supply of £1 book tokens, one for each child to spend at their local booksellers. 

Retailers will be stocking a range of new books costing only £1, or children can receive £1 off a more expensive title.  World Book Day tokens are valid between Thursday 28th February and Sunday 31st March 2019, and you can find out all about the £1 books on offer here. 

As well as selling £1 books, Waterstones in Perth will be welcoming youngsters on Thursday 7th March to a pre-school story-time at 11.30am, and a fancy-dress ‘afternoon tea’ from 4 - 5pm. 

World Book Day - James with Book on CouchYour local library is a great starting point to instil in your children a love of books, and this year Culture Perth and Kinross have laid on a whole range of literary shenanigans to celebrate World Book Day. 

  • North Inch Community Library is hosting a family event from 3.30pm – 6pm, with crafts, face painting and a story and illustration session with author and illustrator Keith Brumpton (advance booking is required for the Keith Brumpton session).  The event is suitable for all ages and children can dress up. 
  • AK Bell Library on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th March, children aged 4 – 12 can enjoy crafts, word searches and puzzles throughout the day, and draw their favourite book characters (no pre-booking required). 

In addition, there will be a special ‘Handa’s Surprise’ storytelling session along with African-themed activities at AK Bell on Saturday 8th March at 11am (booking essential). 

World Book Day, on Thursday 7th March is an excellent reminder that the written word is still alive and kicking.

  • Strathearn Community Library has magicked up some after-school antics in the form of a Hogwarts Hunt, complete with marauder’s map.  Don your wizard’s cloak and get ready for some spellbinding arts and crafts.  No need to book, simply apparate between 4 and 5.30pm. 
  • Blairgowrie Library is welcoming storyteller Gerry Durkin on Saturday 9th March at 10.15am for stories, songs and a messy paint activity based on Herve Tullet’s interactive books.  Book a space by contacting the library.

Libraries are a valuable resource for our children year-round, and World Book Day is a great excuse to pop in and see what’s new. 

Don’t forget the weekly Bookbug ‘Rhyme Time’ sessions held at various libraries across Perth and Kinross.  These are free, friendly sessions of songs and stories for children aged 0 – 5 and their families and carers. 

There are also Bookbug bags containing books and other goodies which are gifted to every baby, toddler and 3-year-old in Scotland, and the latest titles have just been announced.  Full details of what to expect in your bag, and how to get one, are here >

World Book Day - Baby in bouncerIt’s never too early to begin reading with your children. Even babies can pick up the rhythm of language this way, and find it soothing.  Research shows numerous benefits for your child from regularly reading with them, including improved language skills, better concentration, wider general knowledge and an active imagination.  Connecting with a story’s protagonist will also boost empathy and emotional development.

To find the best new releases, I go to the BookTrust website which features an abundance of children’s book recommendations for all ages.  Check it out here > 

Most families develop their own firm favourites over the years, and children will ask for a familiar story until the pages are in tatters and their parents are begging for respite.  World Book Day inspired me to compile a list of books, suitable for pre-schoolers, that James and his peers love to bits…and here it is!

Local writers

Based in Perth - and former Big Personality! - John Halvorsen is the author and illustrator of The Big Brown Lazy Dog, of which James wangled his very own signed copy. 

It’s a heart-warming tale which we have enjoyed time and again. 

We are also fans of George the Turtlethe debut children’s book from another local writer, Chris Findlay – read all about him in his interview with Anita here >


The Big Hitters

I asked my friends which books were most popular with their wee ones and the answer would seem to be ANYTHING by Julia Donaldson.  Really, this lady can do no wrong. 

The Gruffalo, The Detective Dog, What the Ladybird Heard, The Smartest Giant in Town, A Squash and a Squeeze, The Snail and the Whale, Stick Man… all works of genius.


Don’t be afraid to embrace the olden days (by which I mean the 70s)… there are loads of great books that have stood the test of time.  I had forgotten all about Farmer Fisher, but James adores it!

Search your childhood bookshelves for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiger Who Came to TeaThe Rainbow Fish, Giraffes Can’t Dance and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt are more recent classics. 

James loves the Old Bear and Friends series, and Richard Scarry’s books.  I need hardly mention Paddington, Winnie the Pooh and the Mr Men and Little Miss series.

Which books are best-loved by your children? Tell us, and let’s spread the word!

Our Standbys  

Guess How Much I Love You and No Matter What make me weep.  There’s a Bear on my Chair and Wonky Donkey make me laugh.  Would You Rather prompts a conversation.  The Lion Inside applauds courage.  My Daddy is a Giant and Superhero Dad are perfect for fathers. 

This list is a tiny snapshot of what’s out there - the options for reading with your child are endless.  Which books are best-loved by your children? Tell us, and let’s spread the word!

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