Jack Whitehall goes back to school for World Book Day For World Book Day 2018, our ambassador Jack Whitehall reminisces about books from his own childhood with school children from St Joseph's primary, one of our Beanstalk schools in West London. Sharing stories of his father's 'old school' book choices and impressing the listeners with tales of Michael Morpurgo, who used to teach in the same school as his dad. Here's Jack's talk from that very special assembly earlier this school year and a photo of the lucky children with their Beanstalk reading helper who got to meet Jack after the event. One very proud boy who recited a poem for Jack, was presented with the copy of the Just William book that Jack had just read from. "When I was young I used to love being read to. Every night, my dad would get back from work in his suit, come upstairs, loosen his tie, sit on the side of my bed and read me a story. It was wonderful because it would either show people like me, living lives like mine, in streets like mine, with likes and dislikes like mine and problems and worries like mine. Or he could transport me into different worlds. Wonderful worlds, spectacular worlds, worlds that were populated by interesting and exotic people. Worlds that I could imagine myself living in and worlds that, if I closed my eyes I could actually see. Because my Dad was quite a bit older than normal when I was born, he was very old school with his choice of books. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Borrowers, The Famous Five, The Wind in the Willows, Mary Poppins, and practically anything written by a friend of his, who he met when he was teaching decades before, one Mr Michael Morpurgo. One of our greatest living children’s authors and one of the all time greatest storytellers. When Michael Morpurgo was a teacher, probably in a school just like this one, every afternoon, he would stop the lesson half an hour before going home time and tell his class a story. A story that he will have thought up beforehand. The children used to go home and tell their parents all about Mr Morpurgo’s amazing stories until one day, one of them suggested he write them down as the children enjoyed them so much, that he should share them with a bigger audience. And the rest as they say is history. Back to my Dad reading to me. I think that it was his reading to me every night that made me decide when I grew up, that I would like to tell people stories. Now I of course, do it in a different way. I tell people stories, rather than write them. But telling people stories was the way that history was recorded in olden days, from generation to generation, by people recounting stories about their ancestors. Well I tell stories about my friends and family but I make sure that they are funny too. And that is vitally important in this world, laughter. Particularly laughing at ourselves, that’s the most important thing of all, the ability to laugh at ourselves. Anyway, I have decided in honour of all the hours that my Dad put in reading to me every night, that I would go Old School with my choice of what I am going to read to you today and I have picked an absolute favourite of mine and one that I hope will make you laugh and that is the classic that is Just William by Richmal Crompton."