It is the time of year, here in the UK, when you can sign up to become a World Book Night giver.


World Book Night is on 23rd April next year.

If you are unfamiliar with it, it is the adult counterpart to the more child focused World Book Day, where school children get given book tokens, and there are a whole range of special books available that are only £1 each.

On World Book Night, volunteers get to give out free books to people in their neighbourhood who they think might benefit from reading more. When you register as a World Book Night giver, you can choose one of fifteen titles to give away. You are sent a satisfyingly large box of these books, and you are allowed to distribute them to whoever you think might appreciate them most.

The fifteen titles for 2016 were announced today. You can check them out here.

I am posting about it here because, although the majority of the books are aimed at adults, there are always a handful of good teen/Ya choices on offer, and the one year I volunteered I deliberately picked a teen title to give away. People monitor teen reading less than what children read, and encouraging a teen to stick their head into a book is a very worthwhile thing to do.

Holly Bourne’s ‘Am I Normal Yet’ is one of the teen choices available if you sign up to be a World Book Night giver. Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ is another.

You can also buy your own books to give out on the night too, if you are so inclined. When I did it, I bought The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Skellig by David Almond to hand out as well.

I also let my children come with me on the evening. They loved the important job of delivering the books, and explaining why they were doing it. It was a great experience for us all.

It is a very satisfying way to encourage reading in your wider community. You can make sure the books you distribute keep on giving by donating one to your local library, or school, or to a community centre that has a shared bookshelf. There are lots of ways to make a long lasting impact from what you do on this one, brilliant night.

It is just as important that children see adults reading as it is for children to read. Children model what adults do, and if they see you with a book in your hand, enjoying what you are reading, they’re more likely to do the same. So even if you don’t get a teen book to hand out on the night, you are still helping children read.

Research shows that 80% of World Book Night recipients go on to read more frequently after they have received their free book.

You can be part of that.

Register today to be a World Book Night giver.