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World Book Day: Stratford celebrations to host Cressida Cowell, Julian Clary and hundreds of schoolchildren

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 28 February 2017

How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell will introduce young readers to the characters of her new series at Stratford Library today, as part of the Discover Children's Story Centre's World Book Day celebrations. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown

How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell will introduce young readers to the characters of her new series at Stratford Library today, as part of the Discover Children's Story Centre's World Book Day celebrations. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown

© Debra Hurford Brown

Hundreds of youngsters will descend on Stratford Library on March 2 for a celebration where they can really let their imaginations run wild.

Comedian and The Bolds author Julian Clary, who will entertain youngsters at Stratford Library on March 2 as part of the Discover Children's Story Centre's World Book Day celebrations. Picture: Eddie BotsioComedian and The Bolds author Julian Clary, who will entertain youngsters at Stratford Library on March 2 as part of the Discover Children's Story Centre's World Book Day celebrations. Picture: Eddie Botsio

The Discover Children’s Story Centre is hosting special sessions with Cressida Cowell and Julian Clary to mark the 20th World Book Day, with 800 schoolchildren dressed as their favourite characters set to enjoy the fun.

Discover’s chief executive, Karla Barnacle-Best, is thrilled to be hosting the event.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “We’re going to be having 400 children in the morning and 400 children in the afternoon.

“It’s an opportunity to learn with high-profile, really significant authors and illustrators.”

How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell will stop by the library, The Grove, at 10.30am to introduce the characters from her untitled new fantasy series, six months before the first book is published.

Comedian Julian Clary and illustrator David Roberts will take to the stage at 1.30pm to introduce their new book The Bolds on Holiday, continuing the adventures of an urban family of hyenas.

The World Book Day fun will continue over the weekend at Discover, High Street, with workshops from artists-in-residence, and illustrators, Joe Berger and Kristyna Litten.

“World Book Day is a fantastic opportunity,” said Karla, 49, who lives in Lewisham. “It’s a very fun, simple idea.

The Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford is hosting a full programme of World Book Day activities. Picture: Isabel InfantesThe Discover Children's Story Centre in Stratford is hosting a full programme of World Book Day activities. Picture: Isabel Infantes

“I think children do love books and regardless of income they get a free book to take home to show to their parents, and for us it’s a really important part that parents, carers and children read together.

“Books are about children’s confidence, finding something that’s actually really pleasurable and can help them start to understand themselves and find that confidence that they do have a story to tell, they can imagine amazing things.”

The newly-refurbished centre, the UK’s first story centre, is also hosting an “extraordinary” immersive exhibition all about Doctor Seuss – titled The Fantastic World of Doctor Seuss – which runs until August and coincides with the 60th anniversary of The Cat in the Hat.

A new multi-sensory experience for the littlest readers, those aged three and under, called Drip Drop, will launch on World Book Day, joining the centre’s permanent storyboards.

Karla added: “We’re going to keep bringing in a real range of ideas and continue doing what we can to really stimulate that storytelling for children.”

For more on all these events, visit discover.org.uk or call 020 8536 5555.

And don’t forget to send us your World Book Day pictures if you’re dressing up.


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