World Book Day: the perfect day to set off on a reading tour of the world?

World Book Day is celebrated in most of the world on 23 April, but in the UK and Ireland it’s today! While we love the selection of books, authors and events on offer through the brilliant World Book Day charity, we also want to suggest some ways we can broaden the horizons of our reading and our children’s when we put the ‘world’ into World Book Day…

Read the World

Here at World Kid Lit, we take every opportunity to suggest great books from around the world, so it’s perhaps no surprise that we see World Book Day as the perfect day to start reading the world.

This year after months of lockdown and travel restrictions, most of us are dreaming of escapism. Well, what better way of travelling to distant realms than by book? They say reading is a discount ticket to everywhere, and children’s books in translation are the perfect way to fly for a quick getaway to another country!

High resolution maps are available to download from Creative Commons sites like Wikimedia Commons

Last year we asked World Kid Lit readers to suggest their favourite children’s and teen books in translation, and we shared them in this list, Putting the ‘World’ into World Book Day. The World Kid Lit website has grown a lot in the last year, and you’ll now find downloadable reading lists for various age groups and options to search by language that books are translated from or by country of origin.

You could also download a free map, like the one pictured, if you want to print one to put on the wall and chart your progress as your tour the globe by book!

Celebrate World Book Day with the Accidental Show

The Accidental Show is a creative chat show just for kids aged 6 to 11, hosted on Zoom by UK writer and illustrator James Campbell. World Kid Lit editors Claire and Ruth will be making a brief appearance on the show on Saturday 6 March to celebrate World Book Day, to talk about translating children’s books, and about how to start exploring the world of books in translation. Claire and Ruth will share six favourite books translated from six languages, from six countries, taking you on a super speedy tour of South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia! To sign up, you need to email bookings@thejamescampbell.com. Tickets are £5 but payment is voluntary after the event and only if you are able to pay. Take a look at James Campbell on Facebook or Twitter for more details.

Our 6-book world tour

These are the six books we’ll recommend on Saturday, but when you browse World Kid Lit you’ll soon see that the world’s your oyster!

Akissi Tales of MischiefMore Tales of Mischief and Even More Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin, translated by Marie Bédrune and Judith Taboy (Flying Eye Books) – Côte d’Ivoire

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe and Dear Professor Whale by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake, translated by Cathy Hirano (Gecko Press) – Japan

Along the Tapajos by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn (AmazonCrossing) – Brazil

There’s Room For Everyone by Anahita Teymorian, translated by Delaram Ghanimifard (Tiny Owl) – Iran

The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius, translated by Peter Graves (Pushkin Press) – Sweden

Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin, translated by Daniel Hahn (Gecko Press) – France 

Spread the messge

We’d love you to get involved on social media. Tweet us @worldkidlit with the hashtag #puttingtheworldintoworldbookday and tell us your favourite book from around the world. If you’re dressing up as a #WorldKidLit character, we’d love to see it! Our Facebook group has just reached 1000 members so come and join us and continue the discussion about great World Kid Lit. If Instagram is more your thing, you’ll find us there @worldkidlit.