World Book Day – a plea

This World Book Day (March 1) you can do something different AND help out a child who really needs it.

You see, I’m afraid I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to World Book Day costumes.

Yes, I know parents are busy and that sometimes it might be easier to stick your kid in his Spiderman pyjamas with a warm coat on top, but please…

This is an annual, worldwide, celebration of reading. Of books.  Of stories.  It is meant to encourage a love of everything to do with books, and dressing up as a favourite character is a brilliant way of underlining that.  Which means that wearing a costume from Frozen is – and I’m sorry to come over all Miss Jean Brodie – just not good enough.  Even if there is a spin-off book somewhere on sale by the check-out.  TV shows likewise.  And comic-book characters.  Yes, I know “comic-book” has “book” in it, but you know – in your heart – you are cheating.  (And I say this as an admirer of graphic novels.  I suppose, if your child has only ever read comics then it’s better than nothing, but can you tell that this is a grudging concession?  Partly because I suspect that most kids who want to dress up as a superhero are familiar with particular character not from anything on a page, but on a screen.)

Anyway, with that off my chest, here is my plea:

Don’t buy a costume!

PLEASE don’t buy a costume.

If you were going to buy a costume, do something else.  Give the money to Book Aid International instead.

This is a charity that provides books of all kinds to some of the poorest children in the world.  That £15 for a cheap supermarket costume could make a big difference to another child’s life.  Even if you are cleverly recycling a Halloween costume for a Harry Potter or Worst Witch theme, then please consider making a donation anyway.

Their website has some brilliant ideas for home-made costumes.

Like many authors, I’m busy all next week visiting schools.  I love seeing all the costumes!  Sometimes the teachers go to the most extraordinary lengths.  Favourites from past years include a very small girl who spent all day dressed as a giant peach, a memorable Hagrid on dangerous-looking built-up shoes, and a head teacher as a marvellous Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Have fun – and happy reading!

Pictures courtesy Book Aid International

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