World Book Day is on the first Thursday of March each year – this year it falls on 4 March.
You may remember World Book Day from your school days when once a year you got to dress up as your favourite book character and received a free book. Or maybe you spent the day in non-uniform, claiming you were “Harry Potter in muggle clothes.” Either way, you must be curious about what’s happening this year in lockdown.
Will this year be as fun? With everything online, students may not want to dress up when they cannot show their fun costumes off to their friends except through a blurry Teams camera. On the plus side, they do still get a free book.
Due to the increasing popularity of online shopping, most books will not be collected as tokens are redeemable in person only
The book is claimed by using a £1 token. This year tokens are in digital form and have been emailed to teachers to forward to parents. However, due to the increasing popularity of online shopping, most books will not be collected as tokens are redeemable in person only. One can imagine that only keen PTA or teacher parents will get the books for their children.
It’s not all doom and gloom: there are many initiatives occurring this year that may engage children more than a free book (which might never be read and will either end up in a box gathering dust or sitting unnoticed on a shelf in a charity shop). The Show Your Shares initiative is a way for parents to share pictures and videos of themselves reading to their children. A nice initiative for this year, but unlikely to get a high response except from the uber-keen and teachers.
Other activities occurring are character design competitions and book scavenger hunts, which do sound quite fun and something most parents will be happy to leave their child doing independently
There will also be free online resources from World Book Day including activity sheets and author academy learning videos (videos filmed by authors giving out story-writing advice). A fascinating initiative on their website is the bedtime reading initiative, probably aimed more at primary schools. Here, a teacher will set up a bedtime zoom call and read to their students. This may be a success with some schools but seems intrusive and strangely intimate. On top of this, families are being asked to donate £1 to take part – some people might pay the £1 not to join in.
A much more school-friendly initiative is a zoom quiz. A sure-fire way to spur on a passion in reading. However, it might put children off books for life if they get 0 marks, so hopefully the quiz is well-levelled. A suggestion is to make the quiz-master dress up, which is interesting as it implies that the students themselves will not be encouraged to dress up.
Other activities occurring are character design competitions and book scavenger hunts, which do sound quite fun and something most parents will be happy to leave their child doing independently.
This year may not be as involved as other years, but the objective is still the same, and if schools and parents go through with the initiatives, then it could be a fun day for school children throughout the country.
An important part of World Book Day is the money that is raised for charities and the work that this money allows. It is a registered charity founded in 1997 by Baroness Gail Rebuck whose aims included showing that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, and exciting, with the power to transform lives. £2 could get a book to a child in one of the poorest communities around the world.
World Book Day also delivers books to children in hospitals. Many children this year are doing a sponsored readathon, much like previous years. This may even be better during lockdown and raise more money as there is not much else to do but read (and schoolwork). This could benefit many children’s lives and help them discover something a lot more valuable than games consoles, as well as providing children in hospitals with some entertainment.
It’s really easy to donate too – all you need to do is go to the World Book Day website. Or why not get dressed up as a book character for your Teams calls on 4 March? Or, if you have younger siblings, why not read to them, and make sure they get their free book?