World Book Day 2021

Although World Book Day 2021 looked a little different this year from previous years of hidden books and costume donning, we celebrated the day with competitions and shared reads in form-time: Skysteppers by Katherine Rundell in Years 7 and 8 (scroll down below for more details) and One by Sarah Crossan in Year 9+.

Staff also read their own selected book to each class during online lessons across the week, and over twenty staff members shared one of their favourite or most memorable titles in our special World Book Day 2021 video. We’re confident that there will be a book (or two, or three) that catches your eye:

There are many ways whilst at home to read, get involved and be inspired thanks to World Book Day’s various resources and events; here’s our pick of the best this year:

World Book Day has a brand new Book Club for 2021! From 1st March, you will be able to tune into and read together with young people all over the UK (and world) a fantastic book. By signing up (if you are under 13 years old, you must get permission from a parent or guardian), you’ll received the Club’s monthly newsletter and have the opportunity to send questions through to authors too. The first Book Club title this year is the High-Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson – the perfect ‘whodunnit’.

Author Academy: Whether you’re fleshing out ideas for your own book or just looking for inspiration, World Book Day have a host of ‘Author Academy’ videos which might help you on that journey including workshops from Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell and Muhammad Khan as well as several of the writers featured below on this year’s free book list.

Reader Recommendations: You’ll find some of the UK Young Adult community’s best-known authors, influencers and booktubers’ recommendations for teen and YA reading highlights for 2021 by heading over to Home – World Book Day Social. This also includes reading ‘Power Lists’ and to help you find exactly what book to pick up next and fantastic Podcasts – World Book Day Social including Steven Camden our First Story writer-in-residence in 2016.

Audiobooks. Do you love stories but find it difficult to squeeze in the time to read – how about trying an audiobook? They are perfect for when you’re doing other chores or out and about on a walk. A brand new selection of brilliant free audiobooks including Kevin and Katie Tsang’s captivating story of Dragon Mountain, to Matt and Tom Oldfield’s Ultimate Football Heroes’ story of Marcus Rashford are available from World Book Day 2021 until 28 March 2021. For further free audiobook websites, do visit Resources & Links –

Design a book token: the winning design will be made into a real life National Book Tokens gift card to be distributed across bookshops nationwide in time for Christmas! And there are National Book Tokens galore to be won too (up to £250 for the school and £100 for yourself; just imagine all those beautiful new books for the LRC and mini-libraries in classrooms). All entries should be produced on A4 paper using a template available online. The closing date for entries is Friday 2 April 2021. Winners will be announced in May 2021

Free books: As soon as school returns, remember to pick up your £1 book token from Ms Brown in the LRC, school’s reception if passing through or your English teacher. Exchange it for any of the short yet powerful reads below for FREE or get £1 off any book or audiobook. As long as there is stock in the store, there is no end date you need to exchange it by. In the meantime, you can read the first few pages online of each in technicolour here. Local booksellers/supermarkets are: ASDA Crossharbour or Waterstones in Canary Wharf or Greenwich (once reopened).

Here our pick of the best reads including links to author videos and mini-workshops on story telling:

The River Whale by Sita Brahmachari (KS3 readers)

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, with illustrations by Poonam Mistry.

Inspired? Watch Sita’s ‘Author and Illustrator’ video on ‘Inspirations for storytelling flow’ .

Skysteppers by Katherine Rundell (KS3 readers)

High above the streets of Paris live the rooftoppers, a secret gang of children who eat, sleep and tumble amongst the chimney pots. It’s a perilous life, but for Matteo and Mercedes the adventure is only just beginning. Caught up in a long-standing feud that threatens their existence amongst the stars, they find themselves on a hunt across Paris, tearing across the roofs of Versailles and the Louvre, searching for hidden treasure in a race against Henri Danglars – the enemy who would seek to destroy that which they love best.

From bestselling and multiple-award-winning author Katherine Rundell, this joyful new story of the rooftoppers of Paris is full of her trademark bravery and adventure. It’s a treat just waiting to be discovered. Inspired? Watch Rundell’s tips for writing an adventure story including the inspiration behind her settings.

Kill Joy by Holly Jackson (KS4/older readers)

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.

Apocalypse Kings by Derek Landy

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.

Discover Landy’s World Book Day Author & Illustrator video on ‘How to make characters feel real’.