World Book Day 2019 celebrated in Parliament

People - Children Thursday, 13 June 2019

Dame Margaret Hodge hosts starry line-up of authors, book trade figures and MPs

The Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge DBE MP hosted a reception at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday (11 June) to showcase the positive effects of World Book Day, which took place on 7 March.

Authors, illustrators, booksellers, members of Parliament and of the House of Lords, and other industry figures including Baroness Rebuck, Axel Scheffler, Cressida Cowell, Martin Brown (Horrible Histories illustrator), Kirsten Grant (World Book Day director), Nic Bottomley (Mr B's/Booksellers Association), Meryl Halls (Booksellers Association), Jonathan Douglas (National Literacy Trust), Louise Johns-Shepherd (CLPE), Alex de Berry (National Book Tokens), Emma House (Publishers Association), Cally Poplak (Egmont), Jill Coleman (BookTrust), Caroline Lucas MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Mary Creagh MP, Priti Patel MP, Ann-Janine Murtagh (HarperCollins Children's Books), Venetia Gosling (Macmillan Children's Books), Aimee Felone (Knights Of), Rebecca McNally (Bloomsbury Children's), Kirsten Stansfield (Nosy Crow), Kelly Bradford (Beckenham Bookshop), Kirsty Hurst (Foyles), and Florentyna Martin (Waterstones) were in attendance.

Speeches were given by Dame Margaret Hodge, David Kendall (director of Loud and Clear Productions), Patrice Lawrence (a World Book Day author), Victoria Linke (deputy headteacher of Chesterton Primary School who visited 10 Downing Street for World Book Day), Rob Biddulph (the official World Book Day illustrator), and Tim Godfray (CEO of the Booksellers Association). The event was compered by Steven Butler.

Kendall spoke about the impact of distributing £1 World Book Day books in prisons: "There are no official figures for the number of children with a parent in prison, but Barnardo's says 300,000 with around 10,000 visits by children to prisons each week. These were the children we wanted to reach... One of the comments that has come up repeatedly this year was how great it was to see families start reading together, and then take those books away to carry on reading at home. Thanks again to World Book Day, publishers, authors, librarians, and the visits centre staff for getting the books through the walls."

Linke talked about the effect of the 10 Downing Street on her pupils: ‘World Book Day goes beyond the gift of a book - it promotes the importance of books and the sharing of stories to children and young people across the world... This year at Chesterton, it was a World Book Day like no other. We were delighted to be invited to 10 Downing Street to celebrate the event with some of the amazing authors and illustrators that collaborated with the charity this year. Thirty children were selected to attend the event and this for them was a life changing experience where parents and staff afterwards were talking endlessly about the children's new found ambitions to be authors, illustrators and even politicians."

Photos: (top from left) Cressida Cowell, Kirsten Grant, Dame Margeret Hodge; (above) guests including Patrice Lawrence (left), Baroness Rebuck (green jacket), Steven Butler (second right), and Tim Godfray

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