To mark this year’s Children’s Book Week, Booktrust are asking avid readers across the country to vote for their favourite children’s book. A shortlist of 100 books has been chosen, split into five age groups, so get voting for your favourite story (voting upon until 15 November 2013).
In the spirit of things, we’ve dug up some fascinating facts about books that you may or may not know!
It may sound like madness now, but JK Rowling had huge difficulties in getting her books published. Her original Harry Potter manuscripts (which evolved from her ideas scribbled on a napkin while on a train) were rejected by twelve publishers before Bloomsbury gave her a chance – turning the author from an unemployed single mother living on state benefits into a multi-millionaire in just five years.
It’s a long story
The Library of Congress in Washington DC is the largest in the world, and houses 28 million books on 500 miles of shelving. Let’s put that into context – it would take you eight hours to drive past every single book if you were travelling at a speedy 70mph. And, although you’d be right in assuming the library holds thousands of old books, it does also keep up with modern times – it has digitally archived every single Tweet since Twitter’s inception in 2006 (that’s over 170 billion of them by the beginning of 2013).
Part of the M6 toll road is made from recycled Mills & Boon books. A whopping 2.5 million of them (that’s 45,000 books for each mile of road) were pulped and used in the making of the top layer of the West Midlands motorway. This super-absorbent pulp helps hold together the Tarmac and asphalt, while also absorbing sound – bringing a whole new meaning to slushy novels!
The very hungry worm
The extremely popular children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, protagonist actually started life out as a worm called Willi. Author Eric Carle came up with the idea while punching holes through a stack of paper and thought of a bookworm. However his editor suggested a caterpillar would be a more likeable character. It’s a good job she did – The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still one of our most-loved books, with one copy selling every minute around the world.
Comment below if you have any literary facts of your own, we’d love to hear them!