World Book Day & London Prisons

For the first time in 2017, World Book Day will be working with all thirteen of Her Majesties Prisons in the Greater London Area, including HMP Belmarsh, Pentonville and Wormwood Scrubs. Thousands of the specially-published £1 World Book Day books, donated by publishers, will be distributed to children and young people visiting their parents on World Book Day and over the following weekend.

David Kendall, the reading engagement specialist leading the prisons initiative, said: “Sharing a book with a parent can be hugely important to a child’s experience of reading, and it’s something that children with a parent in the criminal justice system have less opportunity to do. Being able to work with World Book Day to ensure books are available to children and parents on World Book Day is fantastic, as it will help all families to feel included and show that reading is for everyone.”

World Book Day is no more and no less than a celebration of reading. 20 years ago  UNESCO  designated a day to a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and it’s now marked in more than 100 countries all over the world.

The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by giving them the opportunity to have a book of their own. Thanks to National Book Tokens Ltd, and generous publishers and booksellers,  millions of book tokens are sent out to children around the country. They can then take their voucher to a local bookseller and pick one of ten new– and free– books. If they’d rather, they can use the token to get £1 off any other book costing over £2.99. It really is all just about getting kids closer to the books and letting them discover more books and new ones.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said, “A book is a link between the past and the future. It is a bridge between generations and across cultures. It is a force for creating and sharing wisdom and knowledge. Frank Kafka once said, ‘a book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.’ A window onto our inner lives, books are also the doorway to mutual respect and understanding between people, across all boundaries and differences…..In turbulent times, books embody the human capacity to conjure up worlds of reality and imagination and express them in voices of understanding, dialogue and tolerance. They are symbols of hope and dialogue that we must cherish and defend.”

More details about World Book Day can be found at


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