• More than 90% of students worldwide have been affected by lockdowns.
  • Children's authors, illustrators and teachers are reading books and providing lockdown tips via social media.
  • More than 100 celebrities have read books on Instagram to raise money to provide lunches to American children.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 1.5 billion students across the globe with 192 country-wide closures, according to UNESCO’s latest figures. To help calm children in isolation, authors and celebrities have put together unique digital storytime initiatives to help spread the joy of reading until school can start again.

#ReadTheWorld Campaign

On 2 April – International Children’s Book Day – the International Publishers Association, UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) launched the #ReadTheWorld campaign.

The virtual series features children’s authors reading excerpts of their books online for millions of children to enjoy.

UNICEF @instagram on International Children's Book Day

Italian author Elisabetta Dami was the first to participate, sitting alongside her protagonist Geronimo Stilton, a character known and loved around the world. Together, they read, answered questions and explained the importance of staying at home to young viewers.

To the delight of the adults listening over their children's shoulders, Elisabetta and Geronimo even suggested fun ways for kids to contribute around the house and help alleviate their parents' workload.

Save with Stories

American actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner launched Save with Stories, an Instagram account where celebrities read children’s books aloud to raise money for charity.

Save with Stories Instagram
Save with Stories Instagram, started by American actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner

In the US alone, 30 million children rely on school lunches in order to be fed. For this reason, the duo teamed up with charities Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to raise money for students at home who may need food, books and more.

In the three weeks since the launch of their account, more than 100 celebrities have already joined the cause and posted videos of themselves reading.

What is the World Economic Forum's Book Club?

The World Economic Forum launched its official Book Club on Facebook in April 2018. Readers worldwide are invited to join and discuss a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. It is a private Facebook group dedicated to discussing one book every month.

Each month, we announce a new book on our social media channels. We then publish an extract and begin a chapter-by-chapter discussion with group members. Selected comments and questions are sent to the author, who in return sends us a video response.

Unlike other book clubs, the group features the direct involvement of the authors, giving you - our global audience with members all around the globe - a chance to directly connect with some of the most influential thinkers and experts in the world.

We have featured authors such as Steven Pinker, Elif Shafak, Yuval Noah Harari, and Melinda Gates.

You can join the Book Club here.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Follow us on Instagram here.

#OperationStorytime

Meanwhile Romper, the self-titled "digital destination for millennial moms," has created #OperationStorytime. The campaign has a constant stream of authors, illustrators and teachers reading books to children. This includes Scott’s Studio Storytime, where children’s author Scott Magoon reads and draws stories in front of viewers once a week.

His latest video story stars Hugo, an artist who thinks he’s already seen and painted everything in his house – a sentiment that no doubt resonates for many stuck inside right now.

All of these authors and celebrities offer opportunities for children around the world to travel without leaving their homes – and as Hugo learns in his story, sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes, for inspiration to strike.