World Book Day reaches out to young readers

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A show-stopping line-up of authors and illustrators are uniting for the country’s first online children’s book festival on World Book Day, March 1.

Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Cressida Cowell, Derek Landy and Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson are just some of the best-loved authors taking part in a series of fun performances for the ‘Biggest Book Show on Earth’ as it is streamed to the homes, schools, bookshops and libraries across the country live from London’s Southbank.

Also taking to the stage to show off the wonders of children’s books are top illustrators including Axel Scheffler, Lydia Monks and Nick Sharratt as well as actor Bertie Carvel who plays Miss Trunchbull in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical. The event will be compered by former Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere.

Taking part couldn’t be easier – simply visit to register for free and check your technical set-up before the big day.

Young audiences then have the chance to watch online and submit questions to the line-up while parents, teachers and librarians can download a full pack of resources and ideas to help children as they laugh, sing and read along. The show will also be available to watch on-demand at the next day.

Julia Donaldson said: “I’m so excited to be part of World Book Day’s Biggest Show on Earth. It’s a fantastic way of bringing children together to meet some of the country’s very best authors and illustrators. We can’t wait to transport children in Luton and Dunstable to exciting new worlds.”

The event will air in two sessions with the first (9.30 to 10am) designed especially for nursery and pre-school children before older children join in the fun from 11am to midday.

The Biggest Book Show on Earth is just one in a series of events and activities in schools, bookshops and libraries getting children excited about books and reading for World Book Day 2012.

Eight new children’s books by authors including Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson can be exchanged for free with a £1 World Book Day Book Token which are being handed out in schools and nurseries from this month.

And the new World Book Day App, featuring exclusive new digital-only content from bestselling teenage writers such as Anthony Horowitz, Charlie Higson and Malorie Blackman will be also available to download for free from Apple’s App store from February 23.

Meanwhile The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 will be marking World Book Day by closing its 500 Words Short Story competition for children on the big day itself. A special edition of Blue Peter dedicated to children’s books will also air on World Book Day.

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