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Happy World Book Day!

Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral

7 March 2024 is World Book Day! This year’s theme, Read Your Way, aims to help young people discover reading on their own terms, however they choose to do it. Whether it is a sentence, a page, a chapter or more, every young reader can step into the wonderful world of books in Winchester…

Little girl going into Jane Austen's House in period dress.

📚 Dress up as one of your favourite characters

Join hundreds of people across the world in dressing up as a character from your favourite story. Making reading fun is the first step in encouraging reading as a hobby, so encourage your young readers to immerse themselves in the world of books and see themselves as their favourite characters, from Lizzie Bennet to The Lorax!

📚 Take a tour of Winchester’s new and pre-loved bookshops

Winchester has stacks of places to buy your next favourite book. Take a tour around the city and tick each shop off your bookish bucket list! Browse one of Britain’s oldest bookshops at P&G Wells, making sure to pop upstairs for the latest books for little ones. Tucked into the corner of Winchester Cathedral’s Inner Close, you will find The Deanery Bookstall – a treasure trove of pre-loved reads. Hidden down Winchester’s quaint alleyways, The Winchester Bookshop is another must-visit for antiquarian, second-hand, vintage and nearly new books. A staple of Winchester book hauls is Oxfam Books on Parchment Street, filled to the brim with books for all ages and interests. Finally, the newest edition to Winchester’s book scene is GET Free Books, open every Thursday and Friday on Colebrook Street.

The Arc

📚 Join the fun at your local Library

Winchester, Alresford and Bishop’s Waltham are home to a rich and diverse collection of books, specially selected to inform and inspire. They offer books for all ages and all reading abilities, so have a wander around the stacks to find your next great read. This World Book Day, under 5s can enjoy fun and rhymes for free Rhymetime. Hampshire Libraries also hosts Storytime, Read Aloud, Family Fun and more! Check out your local library’s event calendar here.

📚 Get creative with World Book Day competitions and resources

National Book Tokens’ annual Design a National Book Token competition is back, inviting children of all ages to get creative and share their love for books and reading by designing their own fabulous gift cards! Children should design the gift cards with the them ‘Read Your Way’ in mind. The closing date for entries is Sunday 7th April 2024. You can also find plenty of resources and activities for all ages here.

📚 Discover some of our local authors

Winchester and its surrounding area is home to many local authors. See if you can spot any of these marvellous books during your next bookshop visit!


Alberta: A Cautionary Tale by Margaret Sturton

Alberta does dreadful things, and she always gets her own way. So when she doesn’t listen to her mother’s good advice and enters the wild and dangerous woods, it’s no surprise that she tricks a kind stranger and eats their delicious cake.

Snip! by Lawrence Roberts

When little Lily McFair refuses to have her hair cut things quickly begin to spiral out of control. An empowering and exciting book for boys and girls between 4-9 years of age that helps to teach teamwork and accepting responsibility.

Mavis the Bravest by Lu Fraser

This is a laugh out loud story about a bonnet wearing, would-rather-be-knitting chicken who embarks on a high stakes chase to save her friend, Sandra the sheep.

Tiny Dogs: Bea’s Secret Friends by Rose Lihou

Tiny dogs, big adventures! Meet the tiny dogs in this first book from debut author-illustrator Rose Lihou, with full-colour illustrations throughout.

The Moon Keeper by Zosienka

Fall in love with this moving and magical picture book about a sweet, conscientious polar bear, the moon, and the special connection they share.

A Natural History of Fairies by Emily Hawkins

This enchantingly illustrated natural history of fairies, compiled in the 1920s by the botanist Professor Elsie Arbour for her niece, is now unveiled for readers of today.

TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum

Imagine having the perfect friend, one who never steals, lies or bullies. A topical and sinister middle-grade novel about artificial intelligence from the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted author of The Middler.

From the Age of Eight: Alfred the Great by Paul Nolan

Written from the perspective of the young Alfred (with the help of his scribe Godric), this book takes readers through the major events in his action-packed childhood.

100 Summers by Ali Sparkes

Dante’s ADHD and dyslexia wins him a place at Candlesham Hall summer school. Finding Bea’s journal changes everything: it has clues to treasures hidden in the house and grounds…

Betty Steady and the Toad Witch by Nicky Smith-Dale

Prepare to lick the toenails of adventure! Betty Steady’s faster than an angry goose and stronger than an ogre in yoga pants and she DON’T NEED NO STINKING HELP! But can she prevent disaster before the Toad Witch attacks Wobbly Rock?

Flight by Vanessa Harbour

Austria 1945. After losing his family, Jakob shelters with Herr Engel in a rural stable, where they hide the precious Lipizzanner stallions they know Hitler wants to steal.

Libby and the Parisian Puzzle by Jo Clarke

This is a middle-grade detective series, set in a travelling school – a mix of adventure, friendship, and mystery, perfect for readers of the Adventures on Trains series. Becka Moor’s gloriously fun illustrations will feature throughout.

The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum

Beyond the mysterious boundary of eleven-year-old Maggie’s town, the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam

Night Speakers by Ali Sparkes

Night after night Elena, Matt, and Tima wake at exactly the same time, with no idea why. It’s messing them up and fracturing their lives . . . until they venture out into the dark and find each other.


📚 Continue the celebration of books at Winchester Books Festival

Winchester Books Festival is back with a selection of wonderful authors and books to get the City reading. Additions this year include Crime Day on Friday the 19th, a Children’s Books Festival running throughout the weekend, and a series of panels of publishing industry experts to help emerging writers get their own books published on Sunday the 21st.