YOUNG bookworms are being encouraged to get involved in an annual celebration of reading.
Libraries across Sunderland are holding a host of sessions to mark World Book Day on Thursday and youngsters are being invited to join in.
As part of the celebrations, children can explore the weird and wonderful world of Alice in Wonderland, The Gruffalo and other popular reads with the help of world-famous authors.
Coun John Kelly, portfolio holder for Safer City and Culture, said: “World Book Day is supported all across the world and the city council is delighted to be part of that celebration of learning and reading.
“We place great emphasis on the importance of books and reading, especially for children, and we have a raft of activities taking place in libraries.
“This includes a number of authors who are going to share their passion for books with visiting schoolchildren, song and rhyme activities for young children and a unique exhibition of children’s literature in embroidered form.”
The country’s first online children’s book festival, boasting a line-up of top authors, also takes place on Thursday and Wearsiders are being invited to log on.
Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Cressida Cowell, Derek Landy and children’s laureate Julia Donaldson are some of the best-loved authors taking part in the Biggest Book Show on Earth as it is streamed to homes, schools, book shops and libraries.
Also showing off the wonders of children’s books are top illustrators, including Axel Scheffler, Lydia Monks and Nick Sharratt, as well as actor Bertie Carvel who plays Miss Trunchbull in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical.
The event will be compered by former Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere.
Youngsters can watch online and submit questions while parents, teachers and librarians can download a pack of resources to help children.
Julia Donaldson said: “I’m so excited to be part of World Book Day’s Biggest Show on Earth. It’s a fantastic way of bringing children together to meet some of the best authors and illustrators. We can’t wait to transport children in Sunderland to exciting new worlds.”
The event will air from 9.30am to 10am for nursery and pre-school children before older children join in the fun from 11am to noon. To take part, visit www.worldbookday.com and register for free.