World Book Day 2019 (March 7) will soon be upon us and as part of the celebrations, the Welsh Books Council has announced the titles of two special books for children that have been published in Welsh and will be on sale for only £1.
The World Book Day campaign in Wales is coordinated by the Council and supported by the Welsh Government. Last year was the first time a Welsh-language book was included in the special £1 range. 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.”
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.
World Book Day is a worldwide celebration marked in over 100 countries across the globe to promote the benefits of reading for people of all ages. Research reveals that reading can have a substantial impact on children’s educational success and it has never been more important to encourage children and young people to read.
Angharad Sinclair, Reading Promotions Project Manager for the Welsh Books Council, said, “Last year was the first time we were able to offer a Welsh-language children’s title for World Book Day and we are so pleased to be able to work in partnership with Y Lolfa once again and build on the success of last year by offering two books for the 2019 campaign.Na, Nel! Un tro … was very popular last year and it’s great to also be able to offer Darllen gyda Cyw to our younger audiences. These books are a bargain for only £1, or free with a book voucher, and are great introductions to these two series of original and exciting books.”
Darllen gyda Cyw by Anni Llŷn, is published by Y Lolfa with illustrations by Debbie Williams and follows the tale of Cyw and friends who have their own week-day series on S4C aimed at children between 3 and 6 years old. Author Anni Llŷn, who was Children’s Poet Laureate for Wales between 2015 and 2017, is originally from the Pwllheli area but now lives in Cardiff. She has written other books for children in the past including Pi-po Cyw and Cyw ar y Fferm, as well as books for older children, and she is a familiar face on S4C programmes.
“My latest book is the wonderful story of Cyw and friends enjoying new books with each other,” says Anni. “They have all found different books to read and come to realise that you can read anytime and anywhere! I’ve always enjoyed writing and using my imagination and I’m thoroughly looking forward to spending World Book Day 2019 in a school in north Wales, reading and writing with children.”
Na, Nel! Un tro … by Meleri Wyn James is also published by Y Lolfa with illustrations by John Lund and follows the adventures of a mischievous girl who is the main character in this popular series. The book’s author, Meleri Wyn James, has won the Literature Medal at the Urdd Eisteddfod and is well known for writing books for both children and adults.
“It’s so important for parents to make time to read with their children and that they see books scattered around the house,” says Meleri. “Take your children to the library or local bookshop where they can explore what genres most interest them. Growing up, I loved books by Welsh author T. Llew Jones and Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven. I still really enjoy a good mystery book!
“I’ll be spending World Book Day in the company of school children discussing my latest book. It always brings me so much joy encouraging children to read and showing them that they can write their own little stories too.”
On 7 March there will be various celebrations taking place across the country to mark the day, including social media activities and competitions. The Biggest Book Show tour will also be 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.
World Book Day is the registered charity behind the world’s biggest annual celebration of children’s books, dedicated to celebrating the benefits of reading for pleasure, promoting the magic of books, the power of imagination and the importance of sharing stories. OECD research 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. Yet, it’s in decline. World Book Day aims to turn the tide – with a call to action for families and carers across the UK and Ireland, which is to read for pleasure with their children for 10 minutes on World Book Day, and every day of the year, and transform their life chances.