World Book Day 2024 will be taking place on 7th March, and is a chance for children to engage in reading, and find out what books interest them.

The National Literacy Trust and World Book Day work together every year to organise this event for children across the UK. They want to ensure that every child has the opportunity to have a book of their own, and are able to read for pleasure.

A big part of this is their £1 book scheme and book tokens, which are sent to schools registered for the event. Children are able to use their tokens to get something new to read, whilst reducing the cost for parents.

On World Book Day, schools across Barnsley will give children the opportunity to dress up as characters from their favourite books to mark the occasion.

I have also launched my annual World Book Day competition to mark the occasion. I am asking children in Barnsley to write a short entry telling me what their favourite book is, and why they have chosen it.

I will choose one winning entry to get a prize!

I hope that this will encourage local children to discover- or re-discover- the joy of reading.

Though the UK scores highly in comparison with other countries’ reading abilities, last year Renaissance Learning Provider found that enjoyment and comprehension levels have decreased since the pandemic.

This is supported by findings from the National Literacy Trust, which found that fewer than one in three children aged between eight and 18 read daily for enjoyment.

Reading has many benefits, including greater academic achievement, advanced empathy levels and better mental well-being and self-esteem.

Whatever a child’s background, if they read, they are more likely to do well.

However, the National Literacy Trust also found that at least one in five children do not own a book at home, with Bookmark Reading Charity suggesting that the cost of living means that families are no longer able to afford books.

I have written to the Government to highlight the importance of reading, and ask them what they are doing to make sure that every child has access to books when growing up.

Locally, the first ever Barnsley Book Festival is taking place across the Borough until the end of March. There are lots of authors, speakers and poets taking part, and this is a great opportunity to get involved with lots of great family friendly activities.

It is also a chance to showcase our brilliant Barnsley Libraries, which, aside from being full of fantastic books, host many great community events all year round.

I know that there are lots of children across Barnsley East who enjoy reading, and lots who have not yet discovered their love for it. I hope they enjoy the celebrations, and to get involved with my World Book Day competition, send a short summary of your favourite book and tell me why you have chosen it to me at