Today marks the 20th anniversary of World Book Day in UK and Ireland - the annual celebration of reading.
Thousands of kids will be attending school in costumes today, dressed as their favourite book characters, while schools across the UK will be handing out £1 tokens that kids can trade in for selected titles at their local book stores.
Organised by UNESCO, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries all over the world (although some nations celebrate on 23rd April, William Shakespeare’s birthday).
As you can imagine, we at Guinness World Records are big fans of books – so we have created a list of our top ten reading-related world records to celebrate the special occasion.
1. Most books toppled in a domino fashion
As part of the launch of the German edition of Guinness World Records 2016, Sinners Domino Entertainment (DEU) assembled 10,200 copies of the world’s best-selling annual and set them sprawling sequentially.
The event took place during the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany on 14 Oct 2015.
The team consisted of 12 people and it took them approximately 11 hours to set up the books, which fell down in just over a minute.
2. Best-selling children's fiction title (current)
The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book hit the shelves back in 2007. Ten years on, readers still can’t get enough of Greg Heffley and his doodled adventures.
In 2015, some 2,208,855 copies of the 10th instalment, Old School, were snapped up. It’s little wonder that Wimpy Kid writer Jeff Kinney (USA) was also 2015’s best-selling children’s author. Odds are that the 11th title, Double Down, will be yet another smash hit.
Jeff Kinney is featured in our new Guinness World Records 2017 Blockbusters! book, out now in the US and launching on 23 March in the UK, Ireland and Australia.
Check out our exclusive interview with Jeff on our kids’ website: Q&A with Jeff Kinney - Best-selling author of 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'
3. Largest reading lesson
Ministry of Interior in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, invited an incredible 2,605 young women to take part in a giant reading lesson on 2 May 2016.
A Guinness World Records adjudicator came along to ensure that the lesson lasted for at least 30 minutes and the lesson followed the structure of a normal class.
4. Longest time spinning a Guinness World Records book on one finger
Himanshu Gupta from India span a GWR book on his finger for an amazing 44 min 20 sec on 17 April 2016. See how you fare up against him:
Himanshu's record has since been broken by Danish Khan, also from India, who achieved a time of 55 min and 51 sec on 16 October 2016.
5. Most people taking part in simultaneous literature quizzes (multiple venues)
World Book Day actually set its own record in 2016, as 11,828 kids took part in a book quiz at 115 locations around the globe.
6. Largest gathering of people dressed as Dr Seuss characters
Looking for fancy dress ideas? In celebration of a nationwide book week in Australia, 564 pupils and teachers from St Therese’s School in Essendon, Victoria, dressed as characters inspired by the much-loved Dr Seuss books on 18 Aug 2015.
The majority decided to attend as Things, but the Lorax, the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat also put in an appearance. Explaining why he chose Dr Seuss, event organizer Daniel Parry told us: “Because all his books are so engaging, exciting and entertaining. The characters are loveable, the imagery is iconic and the stories are timeless.”
7. Highest-grossing Roald Dahl movie adaptation
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) has been the most successful of the books by Dahl to have received the big-screen treatment.
The film, starring Johnny Depp as the eccentric Willy Wonka (left), took a sweet $475,825,484 (£276.2 m) globally.
8. Largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia
With his first collection of stories published in 1926, Winnie the Pooh celebrated his 90th birthday in 2016. Of course, Pooh Bear and gang have long since moved beyond the pages of A A Milne’s (UK) books, as the home of Deb Hoffmann in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA, confirms…
With 13,213 items as of 18 Oct 2015, hers is the largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia.
Asked if there’s a day she’ll ever stop collecting, she told us adamantly, “When I don’t have a pulse any more, I’ll be done. When I’m at the big honey pot in the sky, they better have a really big museum, because they’re going to have a truckload of Winnie the Poohs coming up!”
9. Youngest commercially published author
The youngest commercially published author is Dorothy Straight (USA, b. 25 May 1958), who wrote How the World Began in 1962, aged four. Her book was published in August 1964. Adauto Kovalski da Silva (Brazil) is the youngest commercially published male author. His book Aprender é Fácil was released on 15 October 2005, when the author was just 5 years and 302 days old.
10. Largest collection of Guinness World Records™ annuals
Britain’s Martyn Tovey has made it into the Guinness World Records book … for collecting Guinness World Records books! He actually holds two records.
The first is for amassing 2,164 items of GWR memorabilia, such as posters, board games, and toys. The second is for his extensive library of 353 Guinness World Records books, ranging from the first edition (1955) to the most recent (2017)—the largest collection of Guinness World Records annuals.
“The books contain more than achievements,” says Martyn. “They represent a fascinating record of our recent past.” Aww, shucks—thanks, Martyn!