This is the theme for World Book Day 2021 - and costume ideas for lockdown

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 9:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 9:21 am

Dedicated to celebrating reading, World Book Day is an annual event which sees kids up and down the country dress up as their favourite characters.

The day pays homage to the authors, their books and the quirky characters which strike the imagination of schoolchildren all year round.

So, what's it all about, how do I take part and is there a theme this year? All your questions answered below.

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What is World Book Day?

Today's version, generally speaking, is a day of the year which encourages young people to discover the pleasure of reading.

Its origins stem from Spain where writer Vicente Clavel Andres wanted to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes on his birthday and on the day of his death.

An arm of the United Nations - UNESCO - that specialises in promoting world peace through education took the idea on and spread the word worldwide.

In the UK, every child in full time education is given a £1 voucher to be spent on books, or can trade in their voucher for one of the specially produced £1 books.

The day has evolved over time, throwing its weight behind different initiatives such as Spread The Word, Quick Reads and Books for Hospitals, since its introduction.

World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers, which encourages schools to hold special fundraising events for children, with the activities coming from National Book Tokens.

When was the first World Book Day?

The first World Book Day took place on 23 April 1995.

The date is significant as it marks the deaths of Cervantes and William Shakespeare, as well as the birth or death of several other prominent authors.

After three years, the UK and Ireland decided to localise the theme of World Book Day to make it more relevant and relatable to children in its own schools.

The first World Book Day in the UK took place in 1998.

"We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives," said World Book Day founder, Baroness Gail Rebuck.

When is World Book Day 2021?

In 2021, World Book Day will take place on Thursday 4 March.

The day will still be going ahead despite restrictions on schools during the Covid pandemic, with the charity working with nurseries and schools to supply printed and digital book tokens.

What's the theme of World Book Day 2021?

To embrace the remote learning so many are still grappling with across the country, the charity has decided to launch a World Book Day Book Club and Share a Story corner.

The charity will be holding live events, named Share a Story, and interactive book club sessions to try and encourage even more children to pick up a book or start reading for pleasure.

World Book Day has also teamed up with Nielsen Book again to provide a selection of books available for just £1.

These books include Little Badman and the Radioactive Samosa, There's a Wolf in Your Book, Luna Loves World Book Day, Protect The Planet, Skysteppers, Football School: 20 Fantastic Football Stories and Skulduggery Pleasant.

For the full list, please visit the World Book Day website where you can find out how to register for £1 book or tokens.

What are some costume ideas?

Costumes have grown in popularity over the years and take on many different forms - let your favourite character be your inspiration.

There are, however, some characters which never fail to disappoint, including Harry Potter and his Hogwarts friends, Matilda, Willy Wonka, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.