Reporter Darcie Rawlings visited Seaham Library to see how they were celebrating World Book Day this year.

Local school St Mary Magdeline primary school also went to the World Book Day event at Seaham Library on Monday February 26, in anticipation for the big day on Thursday, March 7.

Seaham Library is one of the 36 libraries run by Durham County Council, and promising a day of inspiration they played host to two award winning children’s book authors alongside fun craft activities and important discussions about reading.

One of the authors orchestrating a talk at the library was Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, who is a New York Times Best-Selling author of ‘Ace of Spades’.

The Northern Echo: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé at the Seaham Library World Book Day event

She discussed her new book ‘Doomsday Date’ which is a tale based on the fears of the Y2K bug in 1999 and sees the main character ‘Sanjeet’ checking off his ‘Doomsday’ list in time for the world ending.

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé passed a tamagochi around the room and discussed ‘Doomsday’ lists with the pupils which prompted masses of enthusiasm from the children who created a huge list of activities and trips they wanted to tick off their list, if ‘Doomsday’ was on the way.

A list far more adventurous than anything I would include, which looks more like, finish the Iliad, and learn how to crochet. The pupils list included visiting Australia, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, going to a Taylor Swift concert and seeing Sunderland FC win the championship.

The Northern Echo: The 'Doomsday' list created by school pupils at Seaham Library

Discussing the importance of Author talks Faridah said: “It’s so important for working class children to see that this is someone’s job, and to know that they can have those dreams and do the same.”

“Even knowing I wanted to be a writer, I thought I should do something practical; it happens to so many people – but I took a chance and I hope to inspire young people to do that too.”

The pupils engaged in crafting activities where they could create their favourite fictional characters from their favourite books before reconvening for a talk on how best to choose a book to read.

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Giving the pupils autonomy over choosing their own novels to read steers the focus of reading away from just education and into reading for enjoyment, which is a large part of the World Book Day initiative this year.

Pupils were asked ‘What do you want to experience from a book?’ and ‘Why might a book not be right for you?’ prompting proactive discussions about reading choices and some brutally honest answers like ‘if it makes you fall asleep’.

Even as an adult I thought this talk was incredibly relevant, World Book Day isn’t only important for children but for all readers, the digital age allows everything on our phones to compete for our attention so making active decisions about what to read can encourage reading as a leisure activity rather than a chore.

The pupils were also encouraged to be critical of the stories they are reading which was another important life-skill.

Childrens author Tọlá Okogwu also gave a talk on what makes a superhero which had the children animated discussing spiderman, powers and costumes.

The Northern Echo: Tọlá Okogwu at the Seaham Library World Book Day event

Tọlá also read some of her latest book in the Onyeka series called Onyeka and the Secret Superhero.

Tọlá said: “it’s an honour to be here, I didn’t become an author until I was 35 and if I had seen a real-life author as a child and known it was something I could do, I might’ve started my writing journey earlier.”

“Not often did I see characters that looked like me in literature, as I grew up, I rarely got to see a superhero that looked like me and heroes help us to see the potential of what you can achieve, which is what inspired Onyeka.”

I remember World Book Day being my favourite time at school, receiving a World Book Day voucher was like receiving Willy Wonka’s golden ticket for 8 year-old Darcie, and it’s safe to say that same feeling radiated through Seaham Library as St Mary Magdeline pupils were told they could take home a free book at the end of the event.

The Northern Echo: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and Tọlá Okogwu's books at Seaham Library

After much deliberation over which book to choose, the suggestion that Tọlá may be able to sign some copies of Onyeka and the Secret Superhero swayed the pupils decisions and the latest edition of the Onyeka series was cleared from the shelves.

It was fantastic to visit Seaham Library to truly see the joy World Book Day brings to young readers and a brilliant experience for pupils who were able to meet, real-life best-selling authors.

World Book Day is on Thursday, March 7, 2024 for more information visit