Behold, it’s March 7th … the unfolding of another World Book Day, and who knows which famous book characters will be trooping into schools this morning?
As a supply teacher, two years ago, my disappointment was almost tangible as I paced through the corridors of a thriving rural school. I had hoped to find enormous book displays and book activities, adorned with excitement in the air. There was nothing.
“We can’t afford to celebrate World Book Day. The teachers are overworked, as it is. Plus, it is so expensive, getting an author in, these days. We just can’t do the things we used to, with such budget cuts!” said the Headteacher. The excuses appeared apologetically rehearsed and whilst it is true that budgets have been cut, I could not help but wonder why on earth the zeal to celebrate had also been cut.
“Who needs an author visit with all the wonderful books around the school? Authors are everywhere, author interviews are now live-streamed, as time and technology have evolved and, you can be creative with what you have…” I found myself lecturing the headteacher.
Of course, author visits are great but surely money should not be a reason for a lack of ‘book celebration’. Books are too valuable not to be celebrated. Children are too precious to be denied a chance to celebrate their favourite characters. Not celebrating World Book Day is just one horrible mistake to make!
Books: paperbacks, hardbacks, picture stories, audio books and chapter books need to be a part of every child’s daily experience at home and at school as they are extremely valuable, not just for their academic development but cognitive, emotional and social development too.
A year later, during my author visit at the same school, I had a wonderful time sharing my book A Fun ABC. The children loved matching words to pictures, finding the hidden objects and developing their vocabulary. Best of all, I took along a chest full of unfamiliar items, from my characters’ world and the children were wowed!
This encounter broadened their horizon and hopefully will, in a small way, contribute to them growing up to be well-adjusted social beings, of their own.
Quality picture books have so much to offer children, they are the perfect form of entertainment – just ask any adult who has had to read the same book over and again to a spellbound child!
Picture books with a vibrant balance between text and image can be magical; they speak beyond the written word, creating a joyous experience for the children being read to and for the adult reading.
Possibly the number one reason for celebrating World Book Day is to showcase those characters who, for at least one day in a year, come alive in the children that love them the most!
So which characters will be swamping through those gates this year?
Happy World Book Day!