So as I walked home from Uni today, passing little Harry Potters and Spidermen, the Queen of Hearts and the Wimpy Kid on my way, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic about World Book Day. It made me really appreciate it and, in fact, kind of made me regret the fact that I don’t think I appreciated it enough as a kid.
For most, World Book Day is a chance to buy £1 books. For me, I’ve realised that actually it brings back so many memories of childhood. I used to absolutely love dressing up for WBD and it was always so exciting for me to get to school and see what everyone else had dressed up as, especially the teachers. Some of my best costumes over the years have to be Fern from Charlotte’s Web and Cutlass Cate from my favourite childhood series Vampirates (which I’ll come back to later). I can also never forget, as hard as I try to, the ridiculous Bagheera (yes, that panther from the Jungle Book) costume that my brother insisted on donning every single year.
I also remember the joys of the whole class lining up by the door, waiting for our turn to go downstairs to the hall and check out the book fair. We’d all be getting excited about things we’d seen in the catalogue in the week before and, armed with our little purses, raring to go. Of course there would always be that one kid who complained and ask to stay behind, but would then end up coming back with the biggest pile of books out of everyone.
I realise now, that actually so many of my favourite books from childhood were actually discovered at World Book Day Book Fairs. As aforementioned, one of my favourite series growing up from the very first time I read the first installment when I was 8, was the Vampirates series by Justin Somper. The first one was actually bought by one of our teachers, who used to read it to us as a class. I fell in love with the action and adventure, and just the excitement that the story provided. In fact, my copy of the first book is so well loved, that the first page has actually fallen out completely; but that’s fine considering I can pretty much quote that whole chapter anyway.
I think the joy of World Book Day is the fact that it creates a sense of community. Whether you’ve read a million books or two; it is a prime opportunity to encourage children to read just one more book. We should definitely be encouraging kids to be reading, even if it is just the short WBD specials that they sell, because connecting with literature is one of the prime ways in which we can connect with the World.
I love World Book Day, and I love seeing other people loving World Book Day, because at its heart, its purpose is to connect kids with books that will make them smile, but also to connect them to their peers. I miss the fun of picking a costume each year, but I hope that the tradition keeps going for years to come, because I cannot wait to help make costumes for my kids.