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X Factor's Dermot O’Leary visits to Doncaster to celebrate World Book Day

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A host of children's authors - including TV presenter Dermot O'Leary - joined schoolchildren marking World Book Day in Doncaster today.

The popular X Factor host's debut book for kids - about a Ninja cat called Toto based on his own pet - has just been published.

Dermot was one of the writers spreading the word about the importance of reading at the event at The Dome attended by 400 pupils who braved the Beast for the East to attend.

Among the line up were famous authors such as Dermot O’Leary, Cathy Cassidy, Cressida Cowell and Andy Griffiths. They all shared their love of books and encouraged Doncaster's youth to pick up a book or two.

Dermot said: “I loved reading as a kid, going to libraries, reading every night, you get to let your imagination run wild and that can only be a good thing for children. It stays with you for the whole of your life.”

His new book is about a ninja cat who is based of his very own feline friend which is adopted from Italy. ‘The Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape’ is his first novel and is illustrated by Nick East.

The event was organised by The Biggest Book Show On Earth who have set up similar shows across the country in honour of World Book Day.

Cathy Cassidy author of many young adult and children books including the very popular ‘Chocolate Box Girls’ series said: “It’s very cool to be a reader.”

"Only 1 in 5 children have a book at home and I was one of those children who didn’t which is why public libraries are so important. Anything is possible if you're reading, it’s a magical carpet that can take you anywhere.”

For a quarter of children, a world book day book is the first book they ever own. Which is why events like this are so important.

Nearly 50% of children aged 8 to 11 nationwide are not being read to at home. But children who are encouraged to read feel the benefits such as feeling calm and reading above their level at school.

Andy Griffith, Australian children's author said: “The ability to read affects so many outcomes in life , educational, professional and even health”

Cressida Cowell author of the ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ series added: “Just ten minutes of reading with children a day can make a huge difference in their lives.”