SCHOOLS, colleges, playgroups and libraries across Wales are celebrating World Book Day today. Pupils are dressing up as characters from their favourite books, storytelling and getting vouchers to help buy books.
More than 50,000 postcards have been printed to persuade those who enjoy reading to share their favourite titles with friends and family. The free postcards are being distributed in schools, libraries and other venues, including the Wales Millennium Centre and Llanerchaeron Gardens.
Eight new Quick Read titles have also been published to celebrate World Book Day – four in Welsh and four in English. The titles have been launched by former rugby international Scott Quinnell and author Lyn Ebenezer.
The other authors of the 2008 books are athlete Colin Jackson, writers Roger Granelli and Hayley Long and Caryl Lewis, travel writer Bethan Gwanas and entertainer Derfel Williams.
Quick Reads are written to appeal to adult learner and new readers.
The scheme is a partnership between the Welsh Books Council and Basic Skills Cymru, with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Writing Squads in Blaenau Gwent, the Vale of Glamorgan, Denbighshire and Gwynedd are organising reading and writing activities today. Authors taking part include Caryl Lewis, Angharad Tomos, Meleri Wyn James, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Phil Carradice and Francesca Kay.
Celebrities including Colin Jackson, rugby player Stephen Jones, Catrin Finch and Jane Oliver of String Mania have sent messages of support for the celebrations and a special World Book Day Crossword will be printed in the Papurau Bro (Welsh-language community newspapers).
Women’s Institute members Wales and Merched y Wawr have collected hundreds of books to pass on to charity shops to encourage readers.
Union learning officers and hospital libraries at Swansea, Bro Morgannwg and Bridgend Hospitals have organised a Leap Into Your Library campaign including activities with Quick Reads.
Poets, authors and storytellers will hold sessions in Conwy, Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Raglan castles, as well as at Tintern Abbey and Caerwent Roman town. In Ceredigion a whole week of events with authors, poets, illustrators and actors from the Pentre Bach series has been planned.
Tonight A Taste of Wales is combining reading with wine, cheese and Welsh cakes at Merthyr Central Library. The event is open to the public and authors Jamie Bevan and Mike Jenkins will read from their works.
The newly-refurbished Welshpool Library is holding a party through the day with storytelling activities for children and book displays.
Torfaen Library Authority is buying multiple copies of books for its junior Book Buddies group who meet at Cwmbran Library. Librarians want to encourage them to all read the same title simultaneously, so that they can discuss and review together. The collection bought will be launched today.
World Book Day Wales is co-ordinated by the Welsh Books Council and will help start the National Year of Reading 2008.
The year will be launched officially by Education Minister Jane Hutt on March 13 at the Senedd.
Bringing the famous to book with their top reads