Hi everyone! I wasn’t planning on having my first official Jo Talks post of March up so soon, particularly as I only posted my last one on Wednesday, but I was inspired by World Book Day yesterday and I thought it would make a great discussion post for this month.
World Book Day in the UK falls on the first Thursday in March. It’s a day where reading is celebrated and kids all around the country get to go to school dressed up as their favourite characters, and do activities based around reading and get a book token to spend on books. In other words, it’s basically heaven for young bookworms.
As a young bookworm, this day was my favourite day of the year. I remember being so excited to go to school on World Book Day, I couldn’t wait to get dressed up and get to pretend to be my favourite character for a day. It was a chance, if only for a day, to get to be a part of one of the stories that I loved so much, to share my love of that character, of that book and as a bookworm that’s one of the best feelings in the world.
I was talking to my friends today and we still remember the characters we went as for World Book Day at school. One year I was Hermione Granger (my biggest character role model when I was a kid), another year Little Red Riding Hood (I think she may have made an appearance multiple years), I think I might have even been Ariel one year, but I can’t quite remember! But you get the picture, even years later, we have fond memories of getting to go to school dressed up as our favourite characters.
It’s more than just getting to be one of your favourite characters for a day though. World Book Day lets young bookworms be themselves, without fearing that their love of books and fictional characters will be ridiculed. This is not so much a problem I remember facing at primary school, it was more at my first secondary school (I changed schools, so I went to more than one), that I realised that some people saw my obsession with books as strange, but still, as a young bookworm, it was amazing to have this day that celebrated the thing which I loved so much, a day totally dedicated to books and the wonderful characters in them.
I also remember being so excited to get my World Book Day token and go to a bookshop and spend it, bookshops have always been such magical places to me, so full of possibilities and I wanted any excuse I could to be in one, still do.
There were obviously kids when I was at school who were less enthusiastic about World Book Day than I was but that was the great thing about WBD, it brings both readers and non readers together to share in the love of books. The costumes were a fun conversation starter but it was this feeling of community that was the best part of WBD.
Events like this are so important for kids. It both shows young readers that their love of books is a great thing and that you’re not odd or strange for loving books, a stereotype that is unfortunately all to often applied to bookworms, and those kids who may not be as in love with reading that it can be fun. They foster a love of learning, a love of knowledge and kids need that.
It was events like this that shaped me as a young reader. Events like World Book Day, and Scholastic Book Fairs (Scholastic provided books for these fairs and we’d get like a bundle for a £1. I always came back from school with super heavy bags on those days) and the mobile library that came to our primary school, these things not only encouraged my love for reading but gave me an outlet for it.
Just looking at all the photos of kids dressed up for World Book Day on Twitter today made me feel so nostalgic. It’s so great that this is a tradition that has continued and today’s kids get to enjoy it, the same way I did when I was their age and it’s so cool to get to see kids dressed up in costumes from some of my favourite books, and think about who I would dress up as now, if I still got to do that for World Book Day (totally would have considered dressing up for it, if I’d had an outfit).
Reading is such a wonderful thing and I think it’s so great that we have this day to celebrate it and to get young people into reading, allowing them to experience the magic and wonder of books. World Book Day also supports charities Book Aid International and Readathon which provide books for children in third world countries who don’t have the same access to books as we do and gives them a chance to discover the magic of reading as well, which I think is pretty amazing.
My dad reading to me as a child is what started my love of reading, but it is experiences like World Book Day at school that sustained it, that turned me into the reader and blogger I am today, I can’t possibly imagine not loving books, but I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as obsessed with books if I hadn’t been encouraged and given outlets when I was at school.
The book loving kids of today, could be the authors, bloggers, publishers of tomorrow and we need to do everything we can to encourage this, especially when they are young and celebrating reading in any way we can, showing them what a wonderful world the world of books is and that’s why events like this are so important. And I hope that when they grow up, they will have been as inspired and have as fond memories of World Book Day as I do.
So to UK bloggers, do you remember World Book Days from your childhood? What did you use to dress up as? Who would you dress up as for World Book Day now? Let me know in the comments!
I will have another Jo Talks post up later this month but again, I don’t know what I’m going to write about, so if there’s anything that you’d like me to talk about, then please let me know. In the meantime though, I will hopefully have new posts for you all next week.