World Book Day is synonymous with going crazy with the dressing up box and creating your favourite book characters for your little loved ones to wear to school. This year is no different, but the emphasis has moved to ‘share a story’, encouraging families to go beyond those clever costumes and to read and share stories for ten minutes every day too.

Research has proven how important reading is for a child’s future, and just ten minutes a day sharing a story together has long-lasting positive effects. Best of all, it can be done anywhere, at anytime. Under the covers at bedtime, busting boredom on a long train ride and, of course, kicking back on holiday. There’s a book for every occasion.

Sharing a story has proven benefits for all involved

Lauren Child, Waterstones Children’s Laureate:
Sharing stories is fundamental to who we are. It is how we make sense of the world and understand ourselves. A book can satisfy our curiosity, give us comfort or hope, escape and joy. Above all books remind us that we are not so different one from another.’

Help foster a life-long love of reading

Tell me more about World Book Day

World Book Day’s main purpose is to encourage children and young people to read, and to love reading. The day aims to stir up excitement around books and reading, unleashing children’s imaginations and creativity through dressing up, sharing stories and taking part in events hosted all over the country. It’s the world’s biggest celebration of children’s books and is recognised by over 100 countries across the globe. Think of it as a book party of the world.

Not only that but £1 book tokens are given out across the nation each year so that every family can pick a reading book of their choice from the World Book Day reading list. Different titles are picked out yearly, catering for all ages, abilities and backgrounds. 

How do I get a free book for my child?

This year, World Book Day titles include new stories from cherished authors Malorie Blackman, Patrice Lawrence, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. Braille, large print and audio formats are available, as are two additional books written in Welsh, so there really is something for everyone.

Schools and pre-schools in the UK and Ireland will be giving out book tokens to your children. They can be exchanged for one of the book list titles at a wide range of bookshops and supermarkets across the country. Book tokens can also be used to get £1 off any full price book or audiobook costing £2.99 or more.

Exchange book tokens in bookshops & supermarkets


Easy costumes ideas for World Book Day

Costume creation shouldn’t be taxing (unless you want it to be) so here’s some fab, easy ways to get creative without a degree in dressmaking.

Burglar Bill – paint on, buy or make a robber mask, buy a flat cap from a charity shop and team both with burglar-worthy stripey blue top and swag bag.

Mr Greedy – find an oversized pink top, stuff a cushion underneath and tie round a belt to hold it all in.

Paddington Bear – go for a blue duffle coat, red hat and wellies, plus lunchbox complete with homemade tag with ‘Please look after this bear’ written on it.

Alice in Wonderland – wear a blue dress with white apron over the top and an Alice band in the hair.

Funnybones – dig out your Halloween skeleton costume for double use.

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz – pop hair in pigtails, find a blue dress with pinny or white blouse underneath, red shoes (the sparklier the better) and toy dog aka Toto. 

Mary Poppins – a white shirt and black skirt combo will be transformed with bow tie/ribbon, black hat with a flower in it, and canvas bag or umbrella.

Harry Potter – magic up some glasses, black cape, red scarf, wand, plus toy owl.

World Book Day 2019: How to get involved

Check out your local library or bookstore for any events as a first port of call. Your school may also be running fun activities. You can find out what’s going on around the country on the World Book Day website

The National Trust is also getting on board. 50 National Trust places will be hosting World Book Day events, with Ten Little Bookworms Children’s Trails for families to take part in, plus other book-related workshops. Some of the £1 titles will also be stocked at estates too.

And of course, if you just want to read more with your kids, there’s the ultimate top 100 stories to choose from. How many have you read?

See more ideas for family fun in the UK