Most of us know we should be reading more, but with increasingly busy lives, it can be hard to fit into our day. That’s why we’ve rounded up some truly fascinating facts about books and reading – hopefully they’ll inspire you to pick up the latest bestseller or an old favourite when you can find a spare half hour!
And we’ve got something for the little readers too. For a limited time, you’ll receive a free children’s book when you buy a set of our kids’ pyjamas – perfect for encouraging budding bookworms.
1. The extremely popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar actually started life 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 the world’s most-loved books, with one copy selling every minute.
2. Inspired by her father’s illiteracy, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will send out a free, age-appropriate book to children aged 0-5 years once a month. Set up in 1995, the programme has given away over 1.2 million books across the USA, UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia. She says books can inspire children to achieve their dreams.
3. According to studies, you are 2.5 times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in later life if you read regularly.
4. Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien typed the entire trilogy with just two fingers. He wasn’t a touch typist like many of us are today and couldn’t afford to hire a professional typist.
5. Where the Wild Things Are was supposed to be about horses, however, author and illustrator Maurice Sendak realised he wasn’t very good at drawing them. So, after a suggestion from his editor, he changed the subject to a more ambiguous ‘Wild Things’.
6. It may sound like madness now, but JK Rowling had huge difficulties getting her books published. Her original Harry Potter manuscripts (which evolved from ideas scribbled on a napkin while on a train) were rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury gave her a chance – turning the author from an unemployed single mother surviving on benefits into a multimillionaire in just five years.
7. Similarly, Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected by publishers 6 times before she took matters into her own hands and self-published the story. Printing 250 copies and handing them out to friends and family, the book quickly gained praise and attention.
8. Dr Seuss’ popular book Green Eggs and Ham was borne out of a bet. His publisher challenged the author to write a bestselling children’s book containing fewer than 100 unique words. Dr Seuss not only accepted, he lowered the limit to just 50 unique words. Green Eggs and Ham, a 62-page book contains no more than 50 unique words and became a bestseller shortly after its release.
9. If you publish a book in Norway, the government will buy 1000 copies (1500 if it’s a children’s book) and distribute them to libraries throughout the country.
10. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we learn that the young wizard’s birthday falls on the 31st of July. He shares his birthday with his creator, JK Rowling herself.