Celebrating the Magic of Books: World Book Day Traditions Around the Globe

Graphic of 'WORLD book day' with a book and round glasses on a pink background

Yay, yay, it's World Book Day! Countries all around the world will be taking time out to enjoy the wonderful world of books and all the incredible stories that can be found between the pages. And the best thing about books is that you never need to worry about recharging them!

As we mentioned in our blog, The Magic of Reading: Why World Book Day Matters! “This special day is a global celebration of books aimed at promoting reading for pleasure and ensuring that everyone has access to books, no matter their circumstances. It is a tribute to authors, illustrators, books, and, most importantly, readers everywhere.”

Join us as we discover how different countries around the world celebrate this standout holiday. Plus, we can’t wait to share fabulous World Book Day activities! You’re never too old for fun!

Confused elderly woman shrugging with palms up against a yellow backdrop

Which Countries Celebrate World Book Day?

Although there isn’t an official list, over 100 countries are expected to take part in bookish celebrations. Since its inception in 1995, UNESCO has started a tradition of designating a World Book Capital for one year.

These cities are chosen for their commitment to literature and books as well. For encouraging a love for reading through various events and initiatives aimed at making books more accessible, especially to the youth and underprivileged communities.

Table showing a list of World Book Capital cities from 2001 to 2024

Being chosen is an honor, and it gives each city the opportunity to showcase its literary culture on a global stage. You may be surprised by some of the cities that made it on the list. This year, it’s Strasbourg, France – what a wonderful opportunity to learn about a new city and its literary connections!

How Do Other Countries Celebrate World Book Day?

In many countries, particularly in the United Kingdom and Ireland, children are given book tokens that they can exchange for a free book or receive discounts on books. The aim is to encourage them to explore new genres and authors. And just like here in America, schools and communities also get into the swing of things with costume events and fun bookish related events.

Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have their own World Book Day website, and it's absolutely fabulous. You can access free audiobooks and book tokens, plus they have a host of activities and great ideas to celebrate. Along with the United Kingdom, they celebrate World Book Day on the 7th of March.

Strasbourg, France Celebrations

Strasbourg has positioned itself this year as a city at the crossroads of ideas and debates. They have 25 programs with over 200 events planned all over the city, catering to all ages. Here are a few we particularly like!

Living Library

The “Living Library” program aims to encourage the creation of new spaces for encounters and conviviality involving books.

Reading everywhere

“All Readers” is another great program involved in creating mobile libraries to promote atypical reading spaces as part of their “Reading our World” project.

Fun and Games!

The lucky citizens of Strasbourg can expect lots of games and fun, including literary karaoke, quizzes, surprise book parties, and a game night in the city’s media libraries.

Joyful woman with hands up, celebrating with colorful confetti around her.

World Book Day Fun Activities

Book Character Dress-Up

We don’t think it matters which country you are in, this is a definite favorite when it comes to World Book Day. It’s a fun way for everyone to show love for their favorite stories and characters.

And for those of you who are not too keen on the dressing-up scene, just grab a pair of jeans, and you’re representing that great book The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares.

Reading Marathon

It's World Book Day, so a reading marathon is the perfect activity! Hosting a reading marathon is a fantastic way to celebrate – you can read books, share stories, or listen to audiobooks together, and for nighttime, a movie adaptation is the perfect end to a brilliant bookish day!

Storytelling Sessions

Who doesn’t love listening to a great story (if you're reading-aloud skills need some help, make sure to check out our blog on the Art of Reading Aloud!) Why not arrange a storytelling session for children and adults? You can up the ante by including a puppet show or interactive sessions where everyone can contribute to the story.

Literary Scavenger Hunt

These are always great fun. You can create a scavenger hunt based on popular books and characters. Create exciting and mysterious clues for everyone to solve, and let them hunt for items or even locations!

Create Your Own Book

This is fun no matter your age! It’s a great way to encourage creativity and may even spark some future authors! Create your own books, from writing the stories to illustrating and making your own covers. So, get your supplies ready and unleash your imagination!


As we wrap up, let's remember the core message of World Book Day: to promote reading for pleasure and make literature accessible to all. It's a day to honor authors, illustrators, books, and readers everywhere—a day to rekindle our love for reading and to share that passion with others.

Why not surprise that special person you love this World Book Day with one of our incredible book boxes? Our monthly subscriptions or ready-to-ship boxes are the perfect option!

Each month is full of surprises! At Once Upon a Book Club, it's not just about reading; it is about the whole experience. Our exciting boxes contain a newly released book along with beautifully wrapped secret gifts, each labeled with corresponding page numbers that have been carefully selected to bring the pages to life.