Celebrate World Book Day on 4th March 2021!
Curiosity really has no age limit; books give adults and children alike, knowledge, choice and the power to grow, imagine and escape. #ReadingIsPower! We've pulled together our edit of top books for children aged 1 - 14 years to help get their imaginations flowing! For adults there is nothing better than curling up on the sofa at home with a good book and cup of tea (or vino!), so we’ve also selected our top 5 reads for grown-ups too.
Although just like everything else in 2021, World Book Day will be different but don’t let that spoil the fun. World Book Day is still determined to celebrate in style and send powerful and positive messages to all about books and reading for pleasure as well as access to £1 books and book tokens.
Recommendations for Children…
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, Age 1-4
This funny, touching and triumphant picture book about a giraffe who finds his own tune. Gerald the giraffe longs to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. But at the Jungle Dance and with some sound advice from a wise cricket, Gerald starts swaying to his own sweet tune.
Room on the Broom, Age 6+
A charming book about a witch and her companions. While flying with her cat on her broomstick, the wind blows a witch's hat from her head. Luckily, a friendly dog rescues it and, as a reward, is invited to travel with them on the broom. Throughout the tale, she encounters a series of other characters who each help her to recover various items that she loses along the way - but will there be enough room on the broom for them all?
The BFG, Age 7+
A classic much loved tale for kids by world renowned author Roald Dahl. The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who unexpectedly befriends a little girl named Sophie, and whisks them into the land of the child-eating giants. With Sophie in his top pocket, the BFG sets off to rid the world of the big, gruesome giants who guzzle up 'human beans'.
The Midnight Gang, 9+
Heart warming, funny and thought-provoking by best selling author David Walliams.
The Midnight Gang tells an extraordinary story of five children on a hospital ward and on a quest for adventure! When Tom gets hit on the head by a cricket ball, he finds himself at Lord Funt Hospital, and is greeted by a terrifying-looking porter. Things go from bad to worse when he meets the wicked matron in charge of the children's ward, but Tom is about to embark on the most thrilling journey of a lifetime! It is a story of friendship and magic and of making dreams come true.
Girl of Ink & Stars, Age 10+
Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and British Book Awards’ Children’s Book of the Year in 2017.
Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart. But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.
The Orange Boy, Age 12+
Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers.
Sixteen-year-old Marlon has made his mum a promise - he'll never follow his big brother, Andre, down the wrong path. So far, it's been easy, but when a date ends in tragedy, Marlon finds himself hunted. They're after the mysterious Mr Orange, and they're going to use Marlon to get to him. Marlon's out of choices - can he become the person he never wanted to be, to protect everyone he loves?
Something for the Adults…
The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
Winner of the Man Booker Prize, 2008
Recently debuted on Netflix in January 2021, the movie is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel by Aravind Adiga.
Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi.
The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realizes that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India - by murdering his master.
Girl, Women, Other, by Bernadine Evaristo
Winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year 2020 and Joint Winner of the Booker Prize 2019.
Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. They tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. They're each looking for something, a shared past, an new future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope. A must read!
I Am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes
Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards "Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year in 2014.
The astonishing story of one man's race against time to save America from oblivion. PILGRIM. The codename for a man who doesn’t exist. A man who must return from obscurity. The only man who can uncover a flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity. A young woman murdered, a father publicly beheaded and more. This book is not for the faint hearted.
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Friction and Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Fiction.
A blind French girl and a German boy paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee, with them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. This story will tug at your heart strings with it's overtly descriptive detail and beautiful language. Be prepared to jump between time periods, hang in there, it's worth it in the end!
This Love, by Dani Atkins
Winner of the Romantic Novel Award, 2018.
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon - she's a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Grief stricken, scared of commitment, she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has to break free, but understanding how is not so easy.
One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered - what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
A best seller, that will have you hooked from the very beginning.
The novel tells the story of twelve-year-old Amir, desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives.
After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption. Wonderful writing, an impeccably built story to capture our emotions of injustice. A must read!
About World Book Day
World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland, changing lives through a love of books and shared reading. Their mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own, especially those from dis-advantaged backgrounds to help aid a child’s future success, inspire them and stimulate minds.
The day is a celebration of the narratives and characters that bring us together in one imaginative world, and now marked in over 100 countries around the globe with children dressing up and engaging with stories on page and on screen.
Visit the World Book Day website to make a donation.
Plus lots of ideas on fundraising, how to get involved and information for families.