A school in South Yorkshire has opted out of the World Book Day costume tradition after backlash from parents.
Parents of primary school children across South Yorkshire and the UK are beginning to feel that the educational focus of World Book Day is being lost.
Sheffield parent, Ruth Duds said: “I feel that I spend so much time creating a costume. and they spend so much time dressing up that the focus isn’t on books anymore.
“At my child’s school they’ve just started ‘no dressing up’; we come in in the morning, we have breakfast with the parents and children, and we read with the children. The attention isn’t on the costume, it’s all on the books and reading.”
In recent years, the time honoured tradition of wearing character related costumes to school has become a costly competition, steering the attention away from the original aim, to be a celebration of books.
Primary school teacher, Kate Brown, said: “World Book Day allows children to express their love for literature; the day is a celebration of new and upcoming authors as well as sharing the love for classic and well-loved authors and books.
“If not used correctly the day can become an investment into a costume competition. With a lot of costumes now swaying from published books to having a ‘film focus’, it would be great for the children to bring in their favourite text to go with their costume which would allow lessons to stem from the children’s interests.”
World Book Day has been the biggest celebration of reading throughout its 22 years of operation. The main aim of World Book Day in the UK is to engage children with reading and provide them with books of their own.
Though the competitive expectations for expensive costumes can be polarising for many parents, the World Book Day charity work to make books as accessible as possible.
Schools across South Yorkshire have been provided with book tokens which can be traded in for one of a possible 12 exclusive books, that have been written especially for World Book Day.
Manager of the Orchard Square Waterstones, Gavin Pilgrim, said: “This year in Sheffield we’ve got a school this morning and a school this afternoon, coming in to have a tour of the bookshop, do some events and activities, book quizzes, a treasure hunt, and to buy their World Book Day books.
“World Book Day unites children’s interest in all the characters they know and love from books, which is hopefully a gateway into reading.”
This year’s authors that have written exclusive World Book Day books include; Peter Bently, Malorie Blackman and Jeff Kinney.
Despite the line-up of best-selling authors on offer this year, the pressure on parents to provide their child with the best costume has caused World Book Day to become a daunting competition: one they would like to avoid.