Hugh Sullivan/Herald & Review/AP
Student Ashley Edwards reads during the new Daily Five reading initiative at Harris School in Decatur, Ill.

World Book Day: British and Irish children head to school dressed as book-based characters

World Book Day is celebrated on March 5 in Britain and Ireland and an important part of the day is children dressing up as a literary character for school.

Today is World Book Day in Britain and Ireland, and to parents that means one thing: their child better have left the house this morning dressed as a literary character. 

World Book Day, which is celebrated on March 5 in Britain and Ireland, celebrates reading and for the event, children receive book tokens equivalent to one pound that allow them to go to bookstores and get certain titles in exchange for the tokens. They are able to do so for much of the month of March, according to the World Book Day website. Titles that young readers can get with their token include "Elmer's Parade" by David McKee, "Best Mates" by Michael Morpurgo, and "Killing the Dead" by Marcus Sedgwick. Readers can also use their token to purchase a regular book and get a one pound discount. In addition, schools, libraries, and bookstores host various activities for the celebration.

And according to various media outlets, dressing children in book-themed costumes has become one of the most prevalent activities. Telegraph writer Rachel Jones called the activity “the all-important costume.”

“We salute all the parents who made it through the seven stages of World Book Day costume crisis and delivered their children to school looking this brilliant,” Jones wrote.

Meanwhile, Guardian reporter Sarah Ditum wrote that she felt some pressure to deliver a great costume for her child. 

“For the last four World Book Days, my daughter has gone to school dressed as Alice [of ‘Alice in Wonderland’],” Ditum wrote. “This is not because she particularly likes the Alice books. In fact, she hasn’t read the Alice books. It’s because I am a terrible parent and every year I forget about World Book Day… Some mums and dads insist on trying, and apparently some children are reckless enough to encourage them, judging by the joyful tiny faces that you’ll see on Thursday morning peeping out from elaborate outfits. There’s still a minor sheen of snobbery around the store-bought outfit… My resentment on this point, however, really stems from my own incompetence and the fact that I secretly think anyone who is organised enough to get to the shop is probably cheating.”

“Harry Potter” fans can check out “Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account for some great examples of “Potter” costumes – she’s been retweeting pictures today.

The US celebrated World Book Night (which takes place in April), which came to America from Europe, for the past few years, but this past summer, the organization behind the event (in which books are handed out for free by volunteers) announced that the event was finished because of lack of funds.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to World Book Day: British and Irish children head to school dressed as book-based characters
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today