New Worlds Through Books

New Worlds Through Books

2nd March 2018 | Blog

Every World Book Day, we celebrate the power of books to change lives. This year, we’re celebrating how books can open doors to new worlds; helping people discover new ideas, imagine new futures and learn new skills.

In the run up to World Book Day, we’ve been asking authors and readers to tell us about the books that inspired them when they were young.

Take a look below to see them all – and pick up some book recommendations along the way!


Shayma, 9, Syrian refugee in Lebanon


Reading at a library in Lebanon
Children enjoy a reading activity at a library in Lebanon

I like it when the teacher takes us to the library to read. I forget about the war and that I live in a tent.

Jacqueline Wilson

I read ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith when I was eleven. I was hooked from the first brilliant paragraph. I’d found the way I wanted to write.

Arita, 10, Rwanda


Arita and friends reading
Arita (right) reads with two friends at the library

I read a picture book about an airplane and it opened up my eyes to the career that I want to pursue when I grow up.

Cerrie Burnell

It’s like a doorway back into history learning about these women’s amazing lives and I just think it’s so inspiring.

Learn more about how Cerrie has been inspired by Little Women here.

Tobias, prisoner, Kenya


Prisoners in Kenya
Prisoners using books in a class in Kenya

Libraries equip you with relevant knowledge of what is happening around us.

Alice Hemming

I decided that I was a yogini and spent many hours perfecting my lotus position and back bend.

Read Alice’s piece in full here.

Dala, 11, Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank


Dala and her favourite book Where To?

When I read this story, I imagined myself travelling to all the places the writer describes.

Elizabeth Wein

And the story just absolutely transformed my life. It made me go and try to learn medieval Welsh when I was at university, it made me become a student of folklore which I eventually got a PhD in.

Find out more about how The Owl Service inspired Elizabeth here.

Austin, 6, Kenya



It is the joyous power of picture books that made me into the young writer and painter that I am today.

Hannah Russell (and Little Alf)

The magic inside this book made me want to read, it made me want to write and it just really got me into horses and everything I do now.

Find out more about how My Secret Unicorn inspired Hannah  here.

Jamia, 16, Uganda


Jamia in her school library with some of the books she likes reading there

Before we had a library, I had learning from the teacher but now I can learn things for myself.

Yaba Badoe

Reading the stories was balm to a lost soul struggling to make sense of peculiar English rituals such as Elevenses . . . Given the exotic weirdness of every-day life around me, it’s not surprising that the Brothers’ Grimm were such a comfort to me or that the themes I return to again and again in the stories I write are to do with rupture and dislocation.

Read more about how Yaba was inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales here.

Christian, 6, Rwanda



I have always wanted to see a lion but I have never visited a national park. When I come to the library, I can find books where I can see pictures of lions and all the animals that live in a park. Now I say the library is my nearest park that I can visit.

Katherine Rundell

It’s so sharp and funny and wise it makes me want to howl with jealousy whenever I read it; I am so grateful it exists.

Find out more about how Katherine was inspired by Charmed Life here.

Winnie, 19, Rwanda


Winnie reading in the library

‘Born A Crime’ by Trevor Noah and ‘I Am Malala’ taught me to never give up even though things seem to be so hard.

Julian Clary

When I read about what they got up to in that book and the adventures they had on the boat, I thought ‘this is the sort of life I’m going to lead’.

Find out more about how Julian was inspired by Swallows and Amazons here.

Raghad, volunteer librarian, West Bank


Raghad (far right) with some of the children at her library

Every time I read ‘Each Kindness’ to the children, they tell me they don’t want to miss a chance to be kind to others and this lights something inside me.

Holly Smale

I carried Anne everywhere with me, tucked in my school bag . . . Knowing she was there made me feel stronger, more capable, prouder and more dignified.

Read more about how Holly was inspired by Anne of Green Gables here.

Sarah, 12, Kenya

‘Olympic Promise’ is about a boy who love running, which was a talent in him. He became famous after achieving a lot. I kept trying to be like him and know what I was good at until I realised I was good at singing. One day I will excel in music.


A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our campaign, it’s been wonderful to share in all the ways books inspire and open eyes, minds and hearts. Here’s to World Book Day and the power of books to transform lives!

If you fundraised for us on World Book Day, details of how to get your funds to us are here.


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