March is nearly over. (How did that happen?!) And so too is the day that sees your Facebook timeline full of school kids dressing up as book characters. World Book Day, is over for another year, folks! 

And oh boy! Doesn’t this event in the school calendar truly divide opinion?

There seems to be two camps  – those that can load a dishwasher and those that can’t! Whoops! I mean those that love World Book Day and those who openly hate its very guts (and spine!)

One post on my Facebook feed (from an exasperated, full-time-working-mum-friend) did make me spit out my tea laughing.

It simply said “OH, FUCK OFF, WORLD BOOK DAY!” followed by several emoji hand gestures.

I totally sympathised because I used to be one of those very parents. Not just because I was a full-time-working-mum with enough to wrestle with let alone having to source a costume that’d be used for one-day-only.

My first born child, you see, HATED (!) World Book Day.

He loved reading but he absolutely felt sick at the thought of  dressing up more than he did having to eat mash potato!

He also hates Halloween and found the whole fancy dress and face-painting-thing, well, a little bit creepy…

Look up masklophobia. It’s a thing.

He’s not officially diagnosed but I think he’s got a degree of it. As does a good mate of mine who sweats at the very sight of anyone in ‘character.’ No Disneyland for her, then.

Anyway. The seriousness of phobias aside, I totally understand how World Book Day can really piss some parents off.

Whether you’re parenting solo, working, hustling or have a brood of seven (true story) to dress up, then I geddit – you want to punch World Book Day in the face!

For many mums, it’s an unnecessary faff. 

I think I’m fair in saying it’s mainly mums who sort this shizzle out, innit?

I hate stereotyping and labelling of any kind (unless you’re a tin of beans) but please feel free to comment below and prove me wrong.

However, things changed (for me) when I had my second born.

Unlike my son, my daughter LOVES DRESSING UP!

She prefers fancy dress to wearing boring ‘normal’ clothes and as a stylist and former fashion editor – creativity pumps through my blood stream like a form of beautiful madness – so now…

I’m one of those super annoying smug-as-shit mums who LIVES for World Book Day!

I’m not going to lie, or play it down but we discuss costume options 365 days a year!

I agree with my free-spirited 8 year old – every frickin’ day should be a fancy dress day, right?

As a text-book second born, there was no baby yoga or sensory soft play classes for her. Instead, she happily settled for the food shop and being whizzed around Sainsbo’s in a trolley dressed as either Spiderman or Scooby Doo.

And she was happy!

She’s the kind of girl who prefers to be a witch in a sea of Elsa’s. She prefers Halloween to Crimbo! I’ve blogged before about how her favourite colour is black and how she’s my little Wednesday Addams. You can read it, here.

But of course, dressing up isn’t really the point of World Book Day – of course it’s about the actual reading and encouraging children to spend more time loving books. 

We don’t need to ditch the tablets and telly – but in an age where screen time is becoming a daily battle in most homes, I know that I’m up for anything that equates books to their brilliance rather than ‘boring’.

I find these things can help:

1: Visibly read in front of your children.

Kids are so observant, they’ll copy what you do. So if you show a real interest in reading, there’s more chance that they’ll follow suit. I’m trying to read a book a month. So far this year, here are my recommended reads.

‘What I Talk About When I talk About Running’ by Murakami

2: Bedtime stories

Parenting is hectic and there are times when the very thought of reading a bedtime story when you’re beyond knackered makes you want to cry.

Five minutes in the morning works just as well, I find. Don’t guilt-trip yourself but find a routine where you both have the time and energy to really enjoy a story.

I wasn’t ever read to as a kid at bedtimes and I LOVE books!

I instead, got the pleasure of learning to say the rosary  (thanks Mum!) or conjugating French verbs (Dads doing!) before brushing my teeth and being sent to bed!

3: Visit the local library

My Dad would always take my brother and I to our local library – back in the day when people made fire out of rubbing flint together! 

No, seriously, I know I sound prehistoric but the local library was where I fell in love with books.

From the magic of reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ to ‘The Animals of Farthing Wood’. Later on I’d learn to rattle through every ‘Sweet Valley High’ book that existed and then discovered ‘Forever’ by Judy Blume; closely followed by Jilly Cooper and anything about the occult! Typical Catholic girl rebellion, huh?

I know I sound like an old fart – but if you’re lucky enough to have a library then visit it. Plus, it’s free, HUZZAH!

4: Don’t panic

If your child can’t read as well as the other kids in class or hates dressing up for World Book Day then don’t push them.

Again, not being a dick here, but patience is everything.

Plus, I’m being totally biased ’cause I do believe that being able to escape into a book is one of life’s most simple and beautiful pleasures.

Just find a way that works for you and yours.

What do you think? Was World Book Day a proper faff for you? Or was it practically perfect in every way?

Scroll down and comment below. I’d love to know your reading advice and tips when it comes to children (all ages) ooh and your book recommendations, too.

And thanks for…erm… reading 😉

Spit spot. And off we go!



  • Back in the day (says she from the dizzying heights of having two teens), I had a son who loathed dressing up and although brilliant at reading, from the age of two….! Hated and still does fiction (he even achieved an A level in English literature without reading the books). We read to him every night, indeed that continued until he was 17 but don’t tell anyone!! I became world expert at costumes that were essentially ‘disguised school uniform’. So we had Just William’ (add a cap), Peter from Secret Seven (badge on jumper), Horrid Henry ((dirty knees and face) – you get the picture. The only time we got away with a costume was the year it became historical figures, a bowler and boiler suit and we had a happy little Churchill!! He’s now studying military history at university so think we failed to instill any appreciation of books at all!!
    The number two child came along and times changed….severely dyslexic with short term memory issues her stimulus was her wonderful creative imagination but linking to characters from books didn’t work at all until we discovered, thanks to my mum, the ‘old fashioned’ books. Suddenly bells rang and we had Milly Molly Mandy, Alice, Little Grey Rabbit, Anne of Green Gables, Bunchy and any number of Enid Blyton schoolgirls (do try them, fab strong females all) She is now 14 has reading age of 18+ and still prefers books with a feminist slant! So well worth finding what triggers your child’s imagination, if those characters appeared a century ago, why not!

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