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By Rebecca Olajide & Rachel Emmerson on

Celebrating World Book Day through our museums

For this year's World Book Day, we take a look at some children's storybooks with inspiring links to our Science Museum Group museums.

World Book Day is an exciting annual event that is celebrated across the UK and Ireland as well as many other countries around the world. It is usually met with an enthusiastic stampede of children dressed in their favorite book characters as they head to school and nursery.

But there is more to World Book Day than just great costumes. The principle aim is to ensure that every child has a book of their own and discovers new ones through the love of reading for pleasure. Reading is one of the biggest indicators for a child’s future success. Reading can…

  • Build happiness and joy – bringing positive benefits to mental health
  • Increase and improve vocabulary, language and literacy skills
  • Increase deeper knowledge of the world around us
  • Build relationships between children and their parents or adult carers

To celebrate this years World Book Day, we decided to chose some of our favorite children’s books which have stories and themes linked to our different Science Museum Group museums.

So, let’s dive in and explore our museums and books!

Science Musuem, London

Our journey starts at the Science Museum, London. The Science Museum shares the stories of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe through its world class collections and galleries.

For this first book, we’re heading to the Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, which uncovers the hidden tales of mathematics and how it has shaped the world around us.

There are fewer fun ways to see maths in action than in this wonderfully witty and rhymical tale of Ten Delicious Teachers by Ross Montgomery (Author) and Sarah Warburton (Illustrator).

Ten Delicious Teachers follows the story of ten teachers missing their last bus home and having to find another way home-however, not all the teachers make it home after a long day at school….

This is a great book where maths, and in particular counting, is interwoven into the story in a fun accessible way. Storytelling, rhymes and songs that involve counting or other mathematical concepts are great ways to help establish a foundation of numeracy in young children.

Through reading and singing, maths is joyfully brought into the readers everyday lives – and if all that wasn’t enough, the illustrations are wonderfully funny and capture the imagination of the teacher’s treacherous journey home.

National Railway Museum, York

Moving on to the National Railway Museum which is home to over 200 years of rail history. The museum is celebration the past, present and future innovations of the railways, including many iconic locomotives and collections of engineering brilliance.

A wonderful story to explore drawing on the the themes of the museum is The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bells (Author) and Flavia Sorentino (Illustrator).

This story takes you on a magical journey by bringing the world of trains to life. As part of a trilogy, you’ll be whisked away with Suzy Smith a character with a passion for science is asked to deliver a cursed package to a fearsome sorceress.

The railways are an exciting and intriguing place to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills such as problem solving, teamwork and creativity.

Locomotion, shildon

Locomotion is the sister museum to the National Railway Museum based in Shildon which showcases the earliest days of the railway industry.

Locomotives, written by Julian Tuwim, is a poem book consisting of three poems. We have focused on the rhythmical poem titled Locomotive (but we think all the poems are wonderful!). It invites the reader to join the train on its long journey to an unknown destination. Throughout the poem we learn all about the cargo it’s carrying and the scenery it is travels through.

What we enjoyed most about this book is that it really makes you use your imagination. It makes you wonder and question where this train might be headed. Is it a far away land or somewhere close to where you live?  

Science and Industy Musuem , mANCHESTER

The Science and Industry Museum tells the story of Manchester’s scientific and industrial past, present and future.

Apopular gallery is the Textiles Gallery which paints a picture of how cotton transformed Manchester into the city it is today, and the impact and influence that it had across the globe.

We found a wonderful book which showcased similar themes to the Textiles gallery. Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnnet, and is illustrated by Jon Lassen. The story is about a little girl called Annabelle who finds a box of colourful yarn which never runs out. She knits sweaters for everyone and everything in her town including a pickup truck! The news travels about Annabelle’s yarn and people across the world come to meet her and see her amazing work.

We really liked this book because as well as bringing that sense of magic and mystery to the reader about the yarn never runs out, it also shows what amazing things can be created out of something as simple as yarn – just like the cotton at the factories in Manchester had done back in the 1800’s.

We also felt that it really highlights the value of textiles and crafts and how they can bring people together. A community is transformed by Annabelle’s generosity and kindness with her knitting, again another similarity to what happened to the people when the cotton industry came about.

For young children it is also a great book to showcase the skills of creativity, problem solving and communication. It also highlight to young people how something that is might be perceived to be a hobby or a something done ‘out of school’ could also be a future career opportunity.


We really enjoyed reading these books, and we hope that reading them too might inspire you to visit one of our museums.  With such a vast collection of objects and stories across all of our sites there will be something for everybody to enjoy!

As you visit our museums think about your favorite story books and if anything you see reminds you of that…



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