Mertesacker celebrates World Book Day

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker visited Islington Central Library on Thursday, March 7 to celebrate World Book Day and read some of his favourite stories to a group of local schoolchildren.

The German defender is Arsenal’s ambassador in the Premier League Reading Stars programme - an initiative run in partnership with the National Literacy Trust that sees all Premier League clubs contribute towards a range of engaging resources that are used in hundreds of schools and libraries across the country to inspire more young people to enjoy reading.

During the visit, Mertesacker read the classic tale ‘The Ugly Duckling’ by Hans Christian Andersen, before taking part in a question and answer session with the youngsters - a mix of pupils from Islington-based Montem Primary School, Drayton Park Primary School and Ambler Primary School.

Arsenal in the Community has worked with each of the three schools for a number of years on different literacy projects, including Premier League Reading Stars and the Arsenal Double Club. The Arsenal Foundation has also provided funding this year to support a new classroom and art studio at Drayton Park Primary School, while club staff have been visiting Ambler Primary School for weekly reading sessions with pupils over the course of the past year.

Arsenal’s contribution to this season’s Premier League Reading Stars project has seen the Club work closely with the local libraries service in Islington and offer all participating schools an assembly, a visit to Emirates Stadium and storytelling sessions.

Speaking about the visit, the German defender said: “My favourite book as a child was Grimm’s Fairytales so it was nice to have a chance to read some stories to the local children today and celebrate World Book Day. If football can help young people to enjoy reading then that’s great and I am happy to play a part.”

Premier League Reading Stars will celebrate its 10th anniversary on March 21. Click here to find out more

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