World Book Day: Beyond Fancy Dress

It’s 10.30pm, the night before World Book Day, and my social media feeds are full of parents busy putting the finishing touches to costumes for their small people to wear to school tomorrow. From Gangsta Granny to the Gruffalo, Where’s Wally to Winnie the Witch, they’ll all be found in schools and nurseries up and down the country. Because dressing up as your favourite character has become “the thing to do” to celebrate World Book Day.

 Whilst this is great fun for the children, it does bring its own pressure for parents – pressures of time, money and creativity.  Having said that, the end results are often fantastic and dressing up is a brilliant way to get children chatting about their favourite book characters (and yes, in my view, Anna & Elsa et al do count as book characters – their stories can be found in print as well as on film and who are we to tell children what does and doesn’t count? If they’re reading and enjoying it, then it most definitely counts!).

Fancy dress is without doubt the most visible element of World Book Day. But there’s a whole host of other activity that takes place in schools, libraries, bookshops and beyond that makes this one of the most special days in the literary calendar. The World Book Day website ( has a wealth of ideas and resources – from quizzes and activities (and even last minute costume ideas) to details of the World Book Day teenfest and where to spend your £1 book tokens. As well as dressing up, activities in schools and libraries include crafts, author events, book swaps and book bombing – random reading aloud sessions.

My own World Book Day will go something like this: after dropping my 4 and 3 year olds off at nursery ( wearing shop-bought Peter Pan and Captain Hook costumes respectively) I’ll be reading a fishy story to a group of children new to Britain at Bolton aquarium in the morning. Then in the afternoon I’ll be storytelling with two reception classes at a local primary school before hot-footing it to another school to read poetry to their Key Stage Two pupils. In between all that I’ll be checking out #WorldBookDay on Twitter to have a nosy at what everybody else is up to.

Yes there’ll be lots of children dressed up and that will be brilliant to see. But most importantly of all, those children will be chatting about books, listening to stories and knowing that reading is one of the most fun things you can do!

Happy World Book Day everyone 🙂



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