Commemorate all the brilliant books, amazing authors, incredible illustrators and (most importantly) reading in general this World Book Day.
To help everyone join in the celebration, we've compiled a range of fantastic quizzes, courses and even some eBooks for you to get stuck in to - all for FREE. Choose from the tiles of resources below and discover even more about your favourite authors and books
Many people have fond memories of the stories they encountered in childhood, perhaps especially of those wonderful picture books and illustrated tales which fired our young imaginations and transported us to magical worlds. To an adult’s eye, some picture books may seem remarkably simple, even oversimplified. However, in this free course, Exploring books for children: words and pictures, you will learn how children’s books use words and pictures together in remarkably sophisticated ways to communicate both to young and older readers, drawing on examples from the classics, such as Beatrix Potter’s Tales of Peter Rabbit, and from contemporary children’s authors such as Anthony Browne, author of Gorilla.Learn more ❯Exploring books for children: words and pictures
As adults we sometimes struggle to justify our feelings about particular books, but children are quite clear about what they like and don't like. It is possible to get children to discuss why they liked or did not like particular books and to encourage them to think more deeply about the books they've read. This free course, Encouraging book talk in the school library, offers ideas and activities to engage pupils in discussing books. It is aimed at librarians, teaching assistants and other adults working with pupils in school libraries.Learn more ❯Encouraging book talk in the school library
How did translators go about converting the anagram 'Tom Marvolo Riddle'? Fernando Rosell-Aguilar explores the tricky business of translating J.K. Rowling's fun and creative words into 80 other languages.Read now ❯Harry Potter and the Translator’s Challenge
Roald Dahl: the incredible storyteller loved by millions or a belittling bully? Find out what his character was like in this article.Read now ❯The man behind Matilda – what Roald Dahl was really like
Exclusive to OpenLearn, OU experts have created guides to introduce some key works of fiction for you to download and read on your prefered device. Inspired by the BBC Four series The Secret Life of Books.Take part now ❯Download free eBook guides to famous literary works
Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë had very different writing styles but can you tell their writing apart from the other? Try our interactive quiz to find out.Take part now ❯Quiz: Which Brontë sister wrote it?
This free course introduces Virginia Woolf’s last novel, Between the Acts (1941), with the aim of understanding how she writes about time, memory, and ideas about identity. It also considers why Woolf’s fiction is often considered difficult. Selected extracts from her essays on writing help to clarify some of these perceived difficulties, illuminating complex patterning and structure in this fictional account of an English village, on a day in June in 1939.Learn more ❯Exploring Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts
Crest: Jakovche https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hogwarts_coat_of_arms_colored_with_shading.svg / Hogwarts Model Karen Roe https://www.flickr.com/photos/karen_roe/7544166316 under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license
How does JK Rowling use Latin and other classical languages in Harry Potter?
To create a sense of the long history of wizardry in the Potterverse, JK Rowling drew heavily on classical languages. The OU's Joanna Paul explores.Read now ❯How does JK Rowling use Latin and other classical languages in Harry Potter?
What function does comedy serve? What do people in power learn by watching tragedies? In this collection of five animations comedienne Josie Long guides us into the fascinating world of Literary Theory. Along the way we’ll discover two very different types of poet (and lover): The Petrarchan and The Libertine, we’re given insight into the complexity behind the term author and learn the difference between a book and the idea of a book. This collection was created in conjunction with The Open University course A334 English Literature from Shakespeare to AustenWatch now ❯Outside the Book
Dr Dena Attar explores why children's stories are often filled with magical creatures.Read now ❯Why do so many children’s stories feature magical creatures?
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction.Learn more ❯Start writing fiction
This free course, Approaching literature: Reading Great Expectations, considers some of the different ways of reading Great Expectations, based on the type of genre the book belongs to. This is one of the most familiar and fundamental ways of approaching literary texts. The novel broadens the scope of study of a realist novel, in both literary and historical terms. The course includes extracts from critical writings, which are discussed in detail.Learn more ❯Approaching literature: Reading Great Expectations
In the last century which women writers have truly challenged the existing forms of literature? How did they make their voices heard using brand new techniques and styles? For centuries there have been women writers who have changed the face of literature, but we tend to talk of their lives and work in very certain terms. This series of video-slideshows reveals how writing and reputation are often forged in transition, uncertainty and change. In these 4 films we re-examine the lives, work and influence of: Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, Katherine Mansfield and Jeanette Winterson. This material forms part of the Open University course A300 20th century literature: texts and debates.Watch now ❯Women Writers: Voices in Transition
How did women (including suffragettes) help wounded soldiers in the First World War? Dr Sara Haslam explores this question, drawing on her research into the War Library and the library at Endell Street Military Hospital.Read now ❯‘Literary Caregiving’: The War Library and Endell Street Military Hospital Library
How do we know what people read in the past, and how they read it? This free course, History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past, is the first in a series of tutorials designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use the resource, and explores the types of evidence historians have uncovered about the history of reading. Tutorial 2 (Red_2) and Tutorial 3 (Red_3) look at how this evidence can be used to tell us about the reception of a literary text and to demonstrate the impact of a writers reading on their literary output. UK RED is a resource built and maintained at The Open University.Learn more ❯History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past
History of reading tutorial 2: The reading and reception of literary texts – a case study of Robinson Crusoe
How have famous books been read and received by audiences in the past? This free course, History of reading tutorial 2: The reading and reception of literary texts a case study of Robinson Crusoe, is the second tutorial in a series designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use this resource, and explores the use of historical evidence to understand the reading and reception of a literary text, in this case Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe. The first tutorial in this series (Red_1) shows how historians have uncovered evidence of reading in the past, while the next tutorial (Red_3) demonstrates how evidence of a writers reading can add to our understanding of their literary output. UK RED is a resource built and maintained at The Open University.Learn more ❯History of reading tutorial 2: The reading and reception of literary texts – a case study of Robinson Crusoe
History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading - Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee
Have you ever wondered about the reading tastes and habits of famous writers in the past? This free course, History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee, is the third tutorial in a series designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use this resource, and explores the connections between the evidence of a writers reading and their literary output. The previous tutorials focus on methods of uncovering evidence of reading, and the use of evidence to understand the reception of a literary text. UK RED is a resource built and maintained at The Open University.Learn more ❯History of reading tutorial 3: Famous writers and their reading - Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Vernon Lee