World Book Day's Profound Purpose, by Pippa Goodhart

This is the week of World Book Day when a large portion of the world enables and celebrates reading for pleasure for everyone. YAY! for something really, really good happening across the world.

I wonder if you recognise the fairy tale castle below? 


It isn’t from fiction. It’s from real life. It’s The Peace Palace. What better thing to build a palace for?! It’s in The Hague in The Netherlands, and it was purpose built to house The International Court of Justice. (Not the International Criminal Court, also in The Hague, but the International Court of Justice.) 

Few people know about the ICJ because its job is to prevent the sort of events that make the biggest frontline news. It works in a similar way to other courts. Those who disagree present their cases, and a panel of judges decides the correct legal outcome. But these are international disputes, from boundary quarrels to determining how formula milk should be promoted, and even deciding the law governing Space. Those judgements can prevent potential wars from boiling into reality.  I’m proud to say that my lovely Daddy, Robbie Jennings, was an international lawyer working on cases at The Peace Palace for many years. In time he became the British judge on a team of fifteen judges, and then President of the Court.

What is the relevance of all that to World Book Day? Well, I’ve just learned that World Book Day was begun by, and is organised by, the United Nations, as is the International Court of Justice. Both, in their very different ways, share the same vital aims. Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, says –

‘In the end, it comes down to values. We want the world our children inherit to be defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter: peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity.


I’m very chuffed to be the author of one of this year’s £1 World Book Day books; You Choose Your Adventure. As with the other, bigger, You Choose picture books, it is Nick Sharratt’s wonderful pictures which most obviously achieve here those aims of us all sharing our world fairly and kindly and imaginatively, at the same time as having fun. The world needs more fun, and it needs young people with fertile imaginations. 


So, here is some happy mixing of different kinds of children and different kinds of adventure. Enjoy!





Last year fifty million £1 World Book Day book tokens were given to children in the UK, with over two million books gifted in exchange for them. One in seven the children getting those books didn’t previously own a book. 


For full information about all the World Book Day books on offer, and the events and activities also there be enjoyed, see World Book Day 2023


And watch out for further You Choose news to come a bit later this year!  


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