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World Book Day 2021

World Book Day books

We are hugely excited to let you know that World Book Day will be held on Thursday 4 March 2021 and is going ahead despite the current pandemic.

Things may feel a bit different this year, but everyone has worked hard to make sure children can still get their £1 books and there are still plenty of ways to mark the day at home or at school. Take a look at our 50 Simple World Book Day Ideas for Schools which we've updated for lockdown.

The World Book Day organisation will be working with schools and nurseries to distribute the £1 tokens with a new single-use digital version that can be printed at home or displayed on a phone. You can register for the digital token from the 1st February and can be used from Thursday 18th February to Saturday 28th March (some retailers will accept the tokens beyond this date). You can find out more details over on the World Book Day website.

Read on and see which book you'd like to get with your World Book Day token and there are plenty of ideas and resources for World Book Day activities over on the official World Book Day website.

World Book Day is always held on the first Thursday in March

World Book Day 2020 was held on Thursday 5th March

World Book Day 2019 was held on Thursday 7th March

World Book Day 2018 was held on Thursday 1st March

World Book Day aims to achieve the following for children and young people:

  • World Book Day makes sure every child in the UK & Ireland has a book of their very own (sometimes their first) 
  • Spending just 10 minutes a day reading with a child makes a big difference to their future success  
  • Discover reading for pleasure! World Book Day makes books and reading a fun part of every child's day 
  • Talk about books together: read with your friends and family to make books more fun, memorable and magic 

World Book Day 2021

How to Celebrate

This year’s World Book Day in lockdown will be a bit different. However, there are lots of ways to celebrate World Book Day at home, at school or wherever you are.

Spending just 10 minutes a day reading with your children can make a huge difference to their lives and there are plenty of ideas and resources over on the World Book Day website to get you joining in with this fun nationwide event. 

This year, World Book Day are rolling out an online programme of events, including YouTube readings featuring this year's authors, from 1st Februrary up to WBD itself on Thursday 4th March. You can find all the events and tutorials on the Authors & Illustrators Academy on their website, along with activity sheets and discussion guides.

From 3rd to 5th March, there will also be a "Share a Story Live" events programme with the WBD authors and illustrators, as well as other well-known faces. You can join in too by posting photos of your family or class sharing a story together on social media.

As you can see from the image above and the list of World Book Day books below, it's a fantastic selection of titles with some incredible characters, stories and series from well-known and lesser-known authors and illustrators, with something for all ages.

If you're looking for some last minute ideas for how to mark World Book Day in lockdown, check out:

50 Simple World Book Day Ideas for Teachers (which don't involve dressing up)

-11 Last-minute, Easy World Book Day Costumes because lockdown doesn't mean you can't dress up!

World Book Day 2021
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1. Gigantosaurus: Dino Spot

"I'm a DINOSAUR EXPERT! I really am the BEST! You might know the names of some, But I know ALL the rest." Deep in the prehistoric past, four little dinosaurs are playing a game called DINO-SPOT. Can they find all the dinos, and who can name the most? But there is one dino who might not be so easy to find ... where is GIGANTOSAURUS hiding?

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2. Luna Loves World Book Day

Today is World Book Day and Luna can't wait. She has the whole day planned... Dress up as her favourite book character: a unicorn! Meet an author and an illustrator. Buy a new book with her book token. But - disaster! - Luna the Unicorn's costume has ripped! Can Dad come to the rescue with a magic potato?

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3. There's a Wolf in Your Book: World Book Day 2021

LOOK! Who's that inside your book?
It's Monster, Dragon, Alien, and Witch.
And... WOW! They have made you a book! A book inside a book! (I wonder what could be inside?)

Explore this interactive adventure and help the friends as the try and get rid of the BIG BAD WOLF that has taken over their book! This celebration of reading, performing, and dressing up has been written specially for World Book Day 2021.

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4. The What the Ladybird Heard Play

What the Ladybird Heard , bestselling picture book from Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, has been adapted by author Julia Donaldson into a fun and accessible play script that children will love performing at school or at home.

The What the Ladybird Heard Play has been designed with rehearsals and performance in mind, with a clear layout and colour-coding for each character, perfect for helping children to follow their lines and join the cast!

The book also contains a hints and tips section, which includes helpful advice on staging the play and ideas for props. There are also ideas for themed What the Ladybird Heard activities, as well as mask templates for the key characters!

With Lydia Monks' bright and distinctive illustrations and Julia Donaldson's hilarious and witty rhyming text, this wonderful, dramatic way to share the classic story is sure to delight teachers, parents and children everywhere.

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5. Planet Omar: Operation Kind: World Book Day 2021

A World Book Day 2021 story from Zanib Mian with hilarious cartoon-style illustrations. Laugh out loud with Omar and his amazing imagination! Perfect for fans of Tom Gates and Wimpy Kid.

One of Omar's best friends, Daniel, has a little sister who goes to hospital regularly. He usually finds it easy to cheer her up when she's there, but this time he feels he needs to do something extra special.

Enter Omar and their other best friend Charlie to help with Operation Kind! The boys try to come up with the perfect surprise for Suzy, and when they find out her favourite author is in the UK for just one day it feels like it was meant to be.

Can the boys overcome all of the ridiculous obstacles that get thrown in their path and face their fears, in a race against time to get a signed copy of the book for Suzy?

Love Reading 4 Kids called the Planet Omar series ' irresistible reading' - dive into this World Book Day story to find out for yourself!

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7. Protect the Planet!: World Book Day 2021

Our planet is precious, and it's up to us to take care of it. You may feel small, but your small actions can make a big difference. This book will teach you that by acting with kindness towards other people, plants, animals, and yourself, you can help to protect the planet.

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8. Little Badman and the Radioactive Samosa: World Book Day 2021

*Meet Little Badman in this hilarious and action-packed mini adventure, for fans of David Baddiel and David Walliams*

Praise for Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties:

'Wildly over the top and satisfying' The Observer New Review Children's Book of the Month

'This book is bonkers but proper funny- it's Drake meets James Bond' Match of the Day Magazine


You've heard of Little Badman, right? No? Oh. Well. . . Doesn't matter. You will do one day. He's gonna be big.

Twelve-year-old Humza Khan, aka Little Badman, has saved the word TWICE. Alien slugs and evil time-travelling teachers are no match for Eggington's greatest rapper

This time, Humza and his two friends, Umer and Wendy, have narrowly avoided being hit by rock from outer-space. What does get hit, though, is a box of delicious samosas, which turn . . .

Radioactive . The three friends wake up the next day to find they have superpowers, which is pretty cool. What's less cool is the giant hamsters roaming the town. Looks like a job for Little Badman and his crew . . .

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9. Skysteppers: World Book Day 2021

High above the streets of Paris live the rooftoppers, a secret gang of children who eat, sleep and tumble amongst the chimney pots. But for Matteo and Mercedes the adventure is only just beginning, as the pair find themselves on a wild hunt across Paris - tearing over the roofs in search of hidden treasure in a race against an enemy who would seek to destroy that which they love best.

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10. The River Whale: World Book Day 2021

A beautiful new short story for World Book Day 2021, from the bestselling author of Where the River Runs Gold.

Immy has always loved wild swimming; one day, she hopes to become a marine biologist. Tomorrow is the first step towards that goal - completing her entry level diving certificate.

But her plans for a good night's sleep are ruined by a strange and vivid dream of a distressed whale in the river. At school she tries to shake it off, but discovers that her nightmare has leaked into reality.

Immy and her trusty friend Cosmo must head for the Thames on a mission to save the trapped river whale. Can Immy use her skills to release it from the rubbish-filled nets it's caught in and guide it home?

Told in a mixture of free verse and prose, this is the beautiful new short adventure from Sita Brahmachari.

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11. Apocalypse Kings

A brand new Skulduggery Pleasant novella for World Book Day: a hilarious and thrilling standalone story in the internationally bestselling series - perfect for new readers, and essential for Skulduggery fans...

Three ancient gods are freed from their prison with only one desire: to destroy the planet and everyone on it.

To save us all, Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain must go undercover in a Dublin school. Skulduggery has to blend in with the teaching staff, while Valkyrie has to pass for an ordinary schoolgirl. Above all else, no matter what happens, they both must act completely and utterly normal.

We are so dead.

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12. Kill Joy - World Book Day 2021

A thrilling prequel story to the bestselling, award-winning A Good Girl's Guide to Murder!


Pippa Fitz-Amobi is not in the mood for her friend's murder mystery party. Especially one that involves 1920's fancy dress and pretending that their town, Little Kilton, is an island called Joy. But when the game begins, Pip finds herself drawn into the make-believe world of intrigue, deception and murder.

But as Pip plays detective, teasing out the identity of the killer clue-by-clue, the murder of the fictional Reginald Remy isn't the only case on her mind ...

Find out where it all began for Pip in this prequel to the best-selling A Good Girl's Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood.

Nail-biting, taut and pacy. Jackson [is] a homegrown thriller writer to watch. Guardian

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13. Lily and the Lissadell Ghost: World Book Day 2021

From the author of Lily at Lissadell, Lily Steps Up and the 'Alice & Megan', 'Eva' and 'Time After Time' series

Lissadell House, Sligo, 1914

Lily and her friend Nellie are housemaids at Lissadell House. Working in such a big house keeps the girls busy, but they still find time for fun, and friendship with Maeve, the madcap daughter of the famous Republican, Countess Marcievicz.

So when strange things start to happen at Lissadell - odd noises, food going missing and rumours of a ghost - Sherlock Holmes-fan Maeve is determined to lead an investigation.

Between them can the three girls solve the mystery of the Lissadell ghost?

Friendship, history and mystery in early 20 th century Ireland.


How to use your World Book Day tokens

Thanks to its many supporting partners, World Book Day will be distributing more than 15 million £1 tokens across the UK and Ireland.

The £1 book tokens will be available in February and are valid from Tuesday 18th February 2021 until Saturday 28th March. The tokens will be sent via schools across UK and Ireland, and this year there will be a single-use digital token available as an alternative to the printed version. 

Once you have your token you can take it into your local bookshop or supermarket and either swap it for one of the twelve exclusive books written especially for World Book Day, or use it to get £1 off any full price book, worth at least £2.99 or more. If you are using the digital token, either show it to booksellers on your phone or tablet screen or print it at home. Please do check with your local bookseller which method(s) they are accepting.

If you're based in Wales, you're in luck, there are an additional two books available and if you're in Ireland there's an extra book for you too OR you can use it to get 1.50 Euros off any book worth at least 3.99 Euros.

And the £1 books are also available in braille, large print and audio via Guide Dogs and RNIB.

You can either redeem your £1 token in lockdown OR hold on to it to use later. 

Currently the tokens cannot be used online but parents/ guardians can use the £1 token when picking up essential shopping in chains that are open, such as major supermarkets and WHSmith. The World Book Day £1 books are a gift from booksellers, who fully fund the cost of the £1 book token redemptions. Bookshops are offering new ways to make the £1 books available, and bookshops will welcome families when they open again (the tokens will be honoured beyond 28 March – while stocks last). 

The WBD tokens can be used at most large bookshop chains such as WHSmith and Waterstones plus all major supermarkets including Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and hundreds of independent bookshops. But they're not accepted at all outlets, so it might be worth ringing ahead and checking to save you a wasted journey. There's a helpful list of participating retailers (including supermarkets) here. Bookshops will have different measures in place to make the £1 books available. 

Contact your local bookseller for information about their opening times and ways to redeem the token before you visit. 

World Book Day History

Run by the World Book Day charity, this is a much-loved annual event, with a mission of bringing children together to celebrate reading.

World Book Day was originally created by UNESCO and first celebrated in April 1995. The UK isn't the only country which celebrates World Book Day! It is celebrated all over the world on 23rd April but in the UK it always runs on the first Thursday in March. For more details on which countries celebrate World Book Day, check out the UNESCO website

So what are you waiting for? Make sure you sign up for a resource pack and don't forget to come back and review the World Book Day book on

World Book Day 2021

29th September 2020

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