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How do you celebrate World Book Day?


Every year on UNESCO’s designated World Book Day, people in countries around the world come together to celebrate books and reading – what a great idea!

Running since 1995, World Book Day (WBD) is the biggest celebration of its kind, with people from over 100 countries taking part. Here at Softlink we love hearing from library staff who’ve spent weeks and sometimes months planning for the big day and are excited to share with others in the Softlink Education community.

Explore Our World Book Day News Page!

Discover an array of enriching World Book Day resources handpicked by our fabulous teacher librarian, all conveniently compiled into a captivating Oliver v5 news page for your school library. 

You can download your copy of the news page here!

School Library Displays

Here’s a brilliant photo we received from Fitzharrys Secondary School in Oxfordshire, England, where all the staff got into the spirit by dressing up as iconic book characters. Don’t they look amazing?

World Book Day - costumes

And here are some of the amazing book-themed displays that were entered in Softlink’s Library Display Competition.

Wellington Point State High School – Superheroes
Wellington Point State High School – Superheroes
St Catherine's School - We're all mad here.
St Catherine's School - We're all mad here
Outward Academy - Our favourite award-winning books
Outward Academy - Our favourite award-winning books
St Wilfred CofE – Diversity
St Wilfred CofE – Diversity

If you’d like to get in the spirit of World Book Day, or prepare for International School Libraries Month in April, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and resources, including activities, videos, book ideas, competitions and events, on the World Book Day website.

Below, we’ve rounded up some suggestions from school librarians on how to create a memorable celebration of books and reading for your school community. To download Resource Packs and Book Tokens for your students, visit the WBD Libraries Tool Kit.

WBD for early years

Story time is always special in the early years and reading aloud is a favourite activity, but books don’t need to have words to be valuable. Picture books appeal to children and adults alike, so they make a great shared activity. As Teacher Librarian Josephine Laretive details in a guest post for the Softlink blog, they are also a valuable tool for exploring visual literacy in the classroom.

WBD for primary years

  • Who doesn’t love a superhero? Take advantage of the enthusiasm many primary-age kids have for superheroes by putting the spotlight on their favourite characters. Try some of these superhero-themed activities from the Scholastic blog or dress up your classroom with these décor ideas from WeAreTeachers.
  • Host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and invite students and parents/grandparents to attend dressed up as a book character. Find ideas for dress-ups here.

WBD for teens

Older students may be hesitant to dress up or be too creative, for fear of standing out or feeling embarrassed. To make them feel more at ease, you could try picking a theme for your Book Day celebrations – they will be more inclined to get involved if they feel they are part of a group effort. You could base your theme on a single book genre, e.g. horror, ghost stories, or dystopian novels, and plan activities and decorations in line with the theme.

Other ideas for secondary schools include:

  • Organise an author visit - see our Library Lovers blog post for links to help you find and connect with a suitable author for your school.
  • Stage a murder mystery in the library and use the extra attention to promote your crime genre section. Here’s a great blog post by school librarian Caroline Roche showing how it’s done.
  • Alternatively, stage a simple treasure hunt in the library. For instructions, see this free resource on TES.

Whether you choose to celebrate World Book Day or not, we hope the above ideas will inspire you with new ways to keep celebrating books and reading in your school.

How did you celebrate World Book Day?

We’d love to see how your school library promoted reading and engagement by celebrating World Book Day! If you have photos you’d like to share with us, email communications@softlinkint.com or tag us on Twitter @SoftlinkEdu.

Want to learn how to celebrate other literary days in your library?

  • September 13th is the birthday of the celebrated children’s author Roald Dahl. We’ve put together some fun activities, videos and lesson plans to help you celebrate Roald Dahl Day!
  • February is Library Lovers’ Month. In this post, we’ve gathered some articles and activities from around the web to help you find inspiration and new ideas to bring some extra love to your library.
  • Celebrate Remembrance Day by commemorating our veterans and promoting historic learning in your school library, with our resources and activities.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published March 2018 and has been updated for freshness, relevance, and accuracy in March 2024.