Is World Book Day is out of control? I know some schools think so and are not going along with it anymore. Certainly parents are driven to distraction by it. The getting of costumes is now a regular joke in TV sitcoms.
World Book Day is supposed to promote literacy, but the costumes are often far removed from books. Supermarkets pile up costumes for WBD, knowing that frazzled parents will buy them to stop the kids nagging and not to lose face at the school gate. Never mind that the costume probably promotes a movie, sport or computer game.
When I’m asked to judge a fancy dress at a school, I immediately eliminate anything that has come from ASDA. The kids with amazing, shop-bought costumes look confused when I choose some kid wrapped up in bin bags and granny’s old hat. That’s what I call dressing up.
Image from the Birmingham Mail web post. Great Trump costume, but what is the book the child is celebrating – Fire and Fury or The Art of the Deal? Not Primary school books either way!
World Book Day is supposed to be about celebrating books and promoting literacy. Many children come dressed as footballers, superheroes, princesses in bridesmaid dresses or other famous movie or computer game characters, in off-the-shelf costumes. I’m always asking them, “Yes, but what book are you supposed to be?”
Schools – It’s okay to NOT dress up on World Book Day.
Leave dressing up to a special end of term dressing-up day or Halloween, when it doesn’t really matter what anyone dresses up as or how.
Celebrate the book on World Book Day, not football or Disney.
There were five of us authors taking the stage for a quarter of an hour each, on the theme of Why I Can’t Live Without Books. Jonny Duddle, Jon Mayhew,, Heather Dyer were all on stage before me, rounded up and introduced by Steven Butler as the Ringmaster. In his fabulous top hat and bright red coat, I was worried he was going to start cracking the whip and make us do tricks!
One thousand children! That’s a big and quite scary audience. Luckily the lights were so bright that I couldn’t really see, otherwise I might have got a little nervous.
I’d figured the others would talk about all sorts of different books that they couldn’t live without, so I chose a different kind of book that I couldn’t live without – sketchbooks.
I brought along some sketchbooks to show how ideas progress and how I often work while I’m watching the TV in the evenings. The Welsh Books Council, who were supporting the show with World Book Day, had bought a visualiser especially, as they would be needing one this week too and it was cheaper than hiring one twice. It was brand new. It worked perfectly before the show…
I came on stage, switched the switch, the screen lit up, but would it focus?
Never work with kids or technology! I learned that back in that 90’s and have only ever used a flip chart since. If it can go wrong it will!
Anyway, it gave me more time to read a little from Dragon Gold, which turned out fine because the bookshop ran out out of copies!
Thanks to Angharad, Medi, Kirsten and everyone who worked so hard to make the day a great success
If you’d like a signed copy of Dragon Gold, you can get one here – with a free poster too!