20 reasons to celebrate children's books

Engines for empathy

2nd March 2017 | Blog

Happy World Book Day!

This World Book Day is particularly special as it’s the 20th anniversary – that’s 20 years of celebrating children’s books and the joy that reading can bring.

To mark this anniversary, we’ve teamed up with 20 top children’s authors, illustrators, publishers and journalists to bring you 20 reasons to celebrate children’s books.

We’ve been releasing a new reason each working day over the past month.

We are delighted to have a very special person from the world of children’s literature provide our final reason to celebrate; Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.


Chris Riddell
© Tom Pilston, Booktrust


Children’s books are engines for empathy.

They allow us to see through the eyes of others.

By transporting us to other worlds they help us to understand our own.

In addition to his lovely quote, he was also kind enough to include an illustration:

Chris Riddell quote


Chris Riddell, the 2015-2017 UK Children’s Laureate, is an accomplished artist and the political cartoonist for the Observer. He has enjoyed great acclaim for his books for children. His books have won a number of major prizes, including the 2001, 2004 and 2016 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2013. His previous work for Macmillan includes the bestselling Ottoline books, The Emperor of Absurdia, and, with Paul Stewart, the Muddle Earth books, the Scavenger series and the Blobheads series. You can find out more about Chris and his books here and his role as Children’s Laureate here.


World Book Day is an annual celebration of authors. illustrators, books and reading. Every year on World Book Day, thousands of school children dress up as their favourite children’s book characters to raise money for Book Aid International, so we can send more brand new books to libraries and schools in Africa. Last year they raised over £120,000 – enough to send 60,000 books to communities where children would otherwise have extremely limited opportunities to read! Learn more about World Book Day here.


Take a look at the rest of our ’20 reasons to celebrate children’s books’ series using the links below!

You may also like

One of Britain's best-loved children's authors shares why, for him, children's books are so special.
Read more >
Bestselling children's author Malorie Blackman shares why she believes children's books should be celebrated.
Read more >
The critically acclaimed author of Skellig shares why he believes children's books are so special.
Read more >