Cheltenham Festivals has an extra special World Book Day event lined up for this year that not only celebrates the joy of reading and magical stories, but also how one Cheltenham schoolboy has been keeping families entertained during lockdown.

 Bedtime Story for Cheltenham Festivals World Book Day

Oscar Mallet, who attends Balcarras Academy School, started reading bedtime stories to local families during the first lockdown and attracted national attention.

Oscar will host a Bedtime Stories event as a Cheltenham Festivals Facebook Live event on World Book Day, Thursday 4 March, at 7pm. He will read an excerpt from Space Oddity, an out-of-this-world adventure, written by Gloucestershire-based author Christopher Edge and illustrated by Ben Mantle.

Loraine Evans, Family and Schools Programme Manager for Cheltenham Literature Festival said: “We are over the moon to have Oscar reading a Bedtime Story for us on World Book Day to help us share our love of books and reading with everyone. And we’d like to thank one of our Festival favourites, Christopher Edge, for allowing us to read from his brand-new book. We hope that lots of families join us on Cheltenham Festivals’ Facebook page for this lovely event.”

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day changes lives through a love of books and shared reading. The mission of the annual event is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. We want to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them. Designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. worldbookday.com

Summary of the book Oscar will read for World Book Day - Space Oddity

Space Oddity was published by Chicken House in January 2021 and was picked as The Times Children’s Book of the Week and Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Month. It is award-winning children’s author Christopher Edge’s first story for slightly younger readers and described by Booktrust as "a perfect read for children and parents to share, and a great book with which to encourage children who usually only like funny stories to read something with more emotional depth." Christopher appeared on BBC 6 Music to talk about how David Bowie’s life and music inspired the story.

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