Welsh Books Council encourages the nation to share stories from breakfast to bedtime for World Book Day 2019

4 Mar 2019

World Book Day 2019 is around the corner (7 March) and as part of the celebrations, the Welsh Books Council is inviting schools, bookshops, colleges, libraries, businesses and homes nationwide to join in the pleasure of reading a book and sharing a story. There will be all kinds of events across Wales to mark the special occasion – the largest annual celebration of books and reading in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Spending ten minutes a day reading and sharing stories with children can make a crucial difference and research by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, more than their family circumstances, their educational background or income.

You can join the fun online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by taking part in the #shareastory #rhannwchstori challenge and by sharing a picture of a book that you’re currently reading or your favourite book of all time and explaining why you love it so much.

Reading and sharing stories can happen anywhere and anytime whether you’re in the park, on the train or on the sofa. Welsh language writer Meleri Wyn James, author of  Na, Nel! Un tro...  has shared her favourite story ahead of the big day.

"I loved reading when I was growing up and always jumped from one book to another. Mystery novels by T.Llew Jones were at the top of the list and the series of Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton. I still love a good mystery book! It’s so important for parents and carers to make time to read with their children and that they see books scattered around the house," says Meleri, who has won the Literature Medal at the Urdd Eisteddfod and is well known for writing books for both children and adults.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of Welsh Books Council says: "World Book Day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the wide range of books on offer here in Wales and beyond. It’s a pleasure to see all the excitement building with a number of activities taking place across the country once again this year."

As part of the World Book Day 2019 celebrations, the Welsh Books Council is running an exciting competition with Welsh language comic for children, Mellten. The quarterly comic is a mix of stories, jokes, puzzles and competitions and the comic’s illustrator, Huw Aaron is calling on children from across Wales to grab a pencil and colouring pens and create their own masterpiece of a cartoon character that could be friends with Boc the dragon.

The competition is open to children of all ages and launches on 1 March and closes on 12 April. The prize for the winning entry will be a £40 book token, an original piece of artwork by Huw Aaron and their illustration featured in an issue of the comic. Runners up will be given a £15 book token and the first 30 schools to send in their entries will win a year’s subscription to Mellten. Entries can be sent to cllc.plant@llyfrau.cymru or by post to Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru, Castell Brychan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 2JB.

"I’ve always loved doodling and making up funny stories since before I can remember but I never really considered illustrating as a possible career," says Huw Aaron, whose first published book was Llyfr Hwyl y Lolfa (The Lolfa Fun Book) which is a collection of jokes and comic strips. "I come from a family of book-worms and I’m certain that my love of stories and beautiful illustrations came from reading at a young age. Asterix and Tintin were highly influential to me as a youngster and I still love the magic of comics. Good luck to everyone taking part in the Mellten challenge, I can’t wait to see them!"

The Welsh Books Council has also arranged a World Book Day lecture which will celebrate the centenary of one of Wales’s finest novelist, Emyr Humphreys. The author has written over twenty novels including the epic seven-volume ‘Land of the Living’ sequence, as well as poetry, plays, and a work of cultural history, The Taliesin Tradition.

The event on 7 March at Cornerstone, Cardiff will welcome award-winning novelist, Tristan Hughes who will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘Finding One of the Four Corners: Emyr Humphreys at 100’. Hughes is the author of several novels, including Hummingbird (Parthian), which won the People’s Choice Prize at Wales Book of the Year 2018.

There are special events for schools too with the Biggest Book Show tour offering an exciting opportunity for hundreds of school children to meet and listen to their favourite authors talk about their work. Both Meleri Wyn James and Anni Llŷn will feature in the Welsh language show at Pontio, Bangor (6 March), alongside the current Children’s Poet Laureate for Wales Casia Wiliam, author Meilyr Siôn and illustrator Huw Aaron.

The English language show will be at The Hafren, Newtown, on 7 March, with contributions from Lucy Owen, Eloise Williams, Claire Fayers, P. G. Bell and Max Low.

The Welsh Books Council was pleased to announce a few weeks ago that as part of the World Book Day celebrations, two special books for children have been published in Welsh and are on sale for only £1. The two Welsh language books being offered this year are Na, Nel! Un tro ... by Aberystwyth-based author Meleri Wyn James, and  Darllen gyda Cyw  by Anni Llŷn, which follows the tales of popular S4C favourites Cyw and her friends.

This year the Welsh language titles will also be available for the first time in accessible braille, large print and audio versions, thanks to the support of the RNIB.

RNIB Cymru’s Transcription Manager Emma Jones said: "We’re delighted to be a part of this year’s World Book Day, which is such a great way of encouraging children to read. Children with sight loss can enjoy a good book just like any other child. The braille, large print and audio versions that we’ve created make sure that blind and partially sighted children can discover these stories and share in the excitement this World Book Day."

For your accessible version of  Na, Nel! Un tro  and  Darllen gyda Cyw  contact RNIB's Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email  helpline@rnib.org.uk

The World Book Day campaign in Wales is coordinated by the Welsh Books Council and supported by the Welsh Government and Waterstones. Every year, with a host of publishers and booksellers, World Book Day curates a list of bespoke £1 books for children and young people across the UK and Ireland. World Book Day’s mission is to encourage children and young people to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

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