Sheffield Celebrates World Book Day

While World Book Day usually sees facebook spam of children in costumes at school and reading events across the city – Sheffield still celebrated in a bid to keep the literary torch alive.

The 27th World Book Day is an annual charity event held annually in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the first Thursday in March, first held in 1995.

Even with schools still closed due to coronavirus restrictions, celebrations of the event have not been dampened by the ongoing health crisis.

Royal Mail have decorated postboxes in five locations across Great Britain, notably on Clarkehouse Road in Sheffield where Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ story is championed.

The boxes feature unique QR codes linking to free services provided by Sheffield authors. The yellow postbox will remain in place for a month in the shadow of the King Edward VII school.

While St Thomas of Canterbury School busied themselves with story jars, Sheffield Wednesday winger Adam Reach answered questions from pupils at three local primary schools over Zoom.

Sheffield author and university lecturer Lisa Bradley said: “World Book Day is absolutely effective in promoting the importance of literature. It captures the imagination of children, especially my two boys who are notoriously hard to get to read. I think it is very important that graphic novels are included in World Book Day as it doesn’t matter what children are reading, as long as they are.”

The World Book Day fun has not just been restricted to children. Volunteers from the University of Sheffield delivered a virtual World Book Day to local schools this week, reading their favourite childhood stories in alternative languages. Other students were also keen to share their personal favourites.

Journalism student Yasmin Wakefield said: “My favourite childhood book was Roald Dahl’s ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’. I loved the illustrations and what stands out to me is that my mum used to put on different voices for all of the characters. I was always begging her to read me another chapter before bed.”

Fellow student Abi Ware said: “I was obsessed with animals (and food) when I was younger so ‘The Tiger That Came to Tea’ really hit the spot for me. My dad used to read it to me every night before bed as it was his favourite when he was younger too. I remember bringing it into school to read to my class all the time.”

With COVID-19 restrictions set to ease, Sheffield is set to enjoy a more normal World Book Day in 2022.

Written by Thomas Gorman

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