Who Will You Be on World Book Day?

World Book Day is fast approaching, and they’re calling it The Biggest Book Show on Earth!
What will YOU do to mark this special occasion?
Debbie Young from the children’s reading charity Readathon shares some info and some ideas.


World Book Day is an annual event celebrating the fun of books and reading. It was created in 1997 by UNESCO, the international organisation that promotes education, communication and the arts in countries all over the world. Not every country will celebrate World Book Day in exactly the same way, but it’s still exciting to feel that whatever you’re doing, young people like you all around the globe will be joining in the fun.


How does the UK celebrate?

In the UK, publishers, booksellers and the National Book Tokens company work together all year to ensure there’s a real buzz about books on this special day.You can find out more about what they’ve been up to on their funky website. It’s packed with colourful posters and activity sheets, all free to download.

Lots of schools mark World Book Day with zany activities revolving around books and reading. Many stage a non-uniform day, inviting pupils to dress as their favourite book characters. It’s even more fun if the staff join in! If you’re stuck for an outfit, here’s an easy option: be Matilda, from Roald Dahl‘s book of the same name. She’s more popular than ever since the book was turned into an award-winning West End musical. To be Matilda, all you’ll need is a dress, loose hair and a big book!

More WBD dress up ideas here.

Other popular activities for schools include a book swap, a book fair, or a Readathon sponsored read (though you can hold a Readathon at any time of year, if you prefer).

If you’re lucky, your school will give you a free £1 World Book Day token, provided by the organisers. These are valid at any book shop that accepts National Book Tokens (they’re not usually redeemable at supermarkets or department stores). You can either put your token towards the cost of any book priced over £2.99, or you can buy one of the fab special edition World Book Day books.

Amazingly, these cost just £1 each, so even if you have no other money, you’ll still be able to buy a brand new book. These special World Book Day books are slim, pocket-sized paperbacks by some of the nation’s top children’s authors.  If you want to buy one of the £1 books, you’d better get down to your local bookshop as fast as you can, because there’s a limited supply and they’ll sell out quickly!  

What else can you do?

Even if your school isn’t doing anything special for World Book Day, or you are home-schooled, there is plenty you can do to celebrate. Here are eight ideas that won’t cost you a single penny!

  • Visit your local bookshop or library, likely to be holding special events of their own
  • Set up a reading corner in your bedroom – a cosy den where you can curl up with a good book
  • Turn your bookshelves into a library – sort them, label them and loan them to your friends
  • Take photos of your friends doing “extreme reading” e.g. up a tree, down a hole, upside down
  • Start a book club with your friends, either all reading the same book or swapping books you like
  • Create a sculpture or a maze out of books 
  • Make up funny book-related games, e.g. turn great book titles into boring ones e.g. “Charlie and the Porridge Factory” or “James and the Giant Pea”
  • Write a book review and send it to JUMP! magazine!

However you celebrate this World Book Day, there’s one great way to end it: tucked up in bed with your favourite book! 


Happy reading!


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