It’s almost the time of year to celebrate World Book Day again. It’s 21 years since the first World Book Day and each year, there seems to be more and more publicity about the event. All around the country, thousands of schools, libraries and bookshops will celebrate everything bookish. The aim is, of course, to encourage children to read for pleasure and to own their own books.
However, as the popularity of the day grows, are we losing sight of the original aims? Before writing this article, I searched for World Book Day on Google. Out of the 12 sites and news reports that appeared on the first page, over half were either promoting or selling costumes. One headline exclaimed ‘B&M launches World Book Day range – with every outfit less than a tenner’. As I wandered around my local supermarket yesterday, I was greeted by a display of Superhero costumes under the World Book Day banner. As a parent myself, I can see the temptation to be drawn in by this, yet does it really enter into the spirit of the day?
Here are a few simple steps to make the most of the day (and save yourself money).
Make Your Own Costume
There are plenty of ways to create your own costume for World Book Day at home. In fact, making a costume with your children is a great activity for all. With a few bits of card, fabric and glue you can create almost anything and aren’t limit to what the supermarkets have in stock.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, look at Book Aid’s website. Here you will find over 40 step-by-step guides about how to create a costume. They are free, but it is suggested that you make a small donation to the charity.
Use Your Voucher
Most children will receive a £1 World Book Day voucher. Unfortunately, a lot of these vouchers are never used. Last year, only 11 children in my class used their voucher. The reasons for this ranged from not knowing where to spend them to not liking any books. There was also some misunderstanding in terms of how the vouchers can be used. So to clarify
- The Voucher can be used to buy one of the specially produced World Book Day books. Each year 10 books are published which cost £1. If you use these your voucher, the book then becomes free.
- You can use your £1 voucher against the cost of any book. This could be one of the £2.50 Young Adult books published by World Book Day or any other book in a bookshop.
Combine The Two Ideas
If you normally spend £10 on a costume, by using the ideas above you will save yourself money. Make your own costume using materials around the house (and possible a few minor purchases) and spend the rest on whatever book interests your child. If this happens to be a World Book Day book, you can celebrate the whole day for under £1.
Some Ideas To Celebrate Books
- Swap books with friends – one of the easiest ways to get books for free
- Base your dinner around a book (Mad Hatter’s Tea Party anyone?)
- Build a fort using all the books in your house – trust me children will love it and you will find them picking up and browsing through books as they go.