Back off World Book Day – it’s more than just fancy dress

‘World Book Day’ may to some have become a glorified Non School Uniform day but let’s not call for a national boycott just yet.

It doesn’t take long for the pitchfork welding nature of social media to capture something in it’s cross hairs and within days turn what was once a really great thing into cause celebre.

World Book Day is possibly the latest victim to fall foul of the distain of keyboard crusaders.

Originating in 1995, World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. Every year this is themed and schools across the globe mark this day with a whole host of reading activities.

It’s not just about dressing up and bringing a pound in.

Across the country today, there will be visiting authors; special assemblies; DEAR activities (Drop Everything and Read) wall displays with PE teachers lying about their favourite book, a while host of activities which put reading as the central focus.

And yes, some children will be wearing fancy dress costumes or their pyjamas.

It is the bit about the fancy dress that has turned what can only be a great day, a brilliant idea into a tidal wave of vitrole that I can feel swelling on my news feed.

World Book Day hasn’t lost its focus, schools are keeping their end of the bargain. Ask your child what they did today to mark, what is the greatest gift we can ever give them, the gift of reading. They’ll reel off a load of good stuff. (It will be mainly primary schools and High School English Depts but so what!)

I am a bit annoyed that retail has jumped on the band waggon and pushes a load of cheap Mary Poppins costumes and Harry Potter Pyjamas become the new ‘must have’ for a day. But again, the costumes are relatively cheap and some schools don’t even do fancy dress anymore, (unfortunately!)

So in short, driving to school today I want to see loads of Harry Potters, Gruffalos and the odd Ninja Turtle or Power Ranger  which I always think is is the go to of the parent who forgot until they logged into Facebook.

It’s flags up reading, it’s fun, it’s more than dressing up. OK it won’t suddenly convert reluctant readers into book worms but it keeps us focused on reading and that’ll do for me.

Happy World Book Day!

2 Responses

  1. I think World Book Day is a wonderful thing but it does worry me that there are families out there that cannot afford these outfits. If you have two or three kids, it could be a big chunk out of your budget. I can’t think of an answer to be honest. I think some schools ask parents to bring the outfits back into school for those children/parents who might struggle – think this is a good idea.

  2. We love ‘world book day’ in our house, no shop bought outfits today. The children got involved in making their outfits, out came the sewing machine ( that my 9 year old set up and threaded) and fun was had by all. Lots of laughs and no gadgets!!! We will carry on the theme after school with a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ and I get to find out about their day and what authors they talked about.

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