World Book Day

‘World Book Day’: a celebration of great literature or a chance to be your favourite Disney princess?Wednesday marked the 19th annual World Book Day. A day in which children’s favourite authors can be acknowledged, story-telling is celebrated, and most importantly, reading is encouraged.

Well, that’s the idea anyway. However, the event that is supposed to focus on great literary works seems to have recently become overshadowed by the tradition held in many schools for the children to dress up as their favourite fictional characters. Of course, this is just for fun, but you only need to look to Facebook to see the abundance of Disney princess, superhero and Star Wars costumes that were worn on Wednesday. A worryingly large amount of characters that are recognised first and foremost for their respective films.

Now I suppose you can argue that, yes, there have been books made of these popular films (that basically retell the plot of film anyway), but it seems as though parents and schools are merely using this technicality to continue allowing countless Queen Elsa’s and Darth Vader’s to go to school and have that costume apparently represent their favourite book. It makes me wonder whether these children truly understand the purpose of World Book Day, or do they think it’s just another fancy dress competition? 

Personally, I believe that children should be encouraged to dress as a character that is, at least, originally recognised for their literary significance. If there was a film made based on the book, fine, just not the other way around.

If every child wants to dress as the same Disney princess, not only are the values of World Book Day being undermined, but there also becomes a lack of individuality, too. After all, it’s doubtful that any kid wants to be the only Matilda amongst a dozen Cinderella’s.

Maybe its petty to be fussed about whether the costumes are based on films or on books, but I just think World Book Day is a great opportunity to try and get kids engaged in reading; especially in an age when reading seems to be becoming increasingly unpopular among the younger generation.

Jamie Barton



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