Book Week has been a major event in the school calendar since 1945, and in that time much has changed in the world of children’s literature. Books now compete with television, movies, apps and video games for kids’ attention, and their fictional heroes are just as likely to come from the screen as from the page. Parents are increasingly facing the dilemma of helping their child choose a costume that is in the spirit of Book Week while avoiding tears and tantrums.
While kids clamour to dress as their favourite superhero or Disney princess, parents are left wondering whether this is what Book Week is all about. Is it ok to send your kid to school as Elsa or Iron Man?
Do Spiderman and Princess Leia have a place in the Book Week parade? Teachers and librarians are divided on the topic.
While the origins of many superheroes lie in comic books, and Disney princesses in the fairy tales penned by the Brothers Grimm, children are not necessarily aware of these origins and may just see Book Week as an excuse to dress up, regardless of where the character came from
"Kids need superheroes in their life"
Dressing up as less traditional characters like Batman or Superman also provides teachers with the opportunity to point out the origins of these characters in comic books and encourage kids to find other graphic novels that may pique their interest. “Kids need superheroes in their life,” librarian Lindy Batchelor reasons. “If they like Spiderman now, probably in a few years they won’t, so why not let them use their imagination and interest in this character now?” It can often be difficult to get boys into books so any opportunity to encourage them to get into reading is one that librarians and teachers are happy to take. But even if your child does choose a book character, how easy is it to find a costume? The crafty among us may be able to whip up a unique costume from scratch, but for many busy and working parents, this is not an option.
So whether your child chooses a homemade Captain Underpants ensemble, a Roald Dahl Matilda costume, or insists on being Batman again this year, Batchelor’s takeaway for Book Week dress-up day is one everyone can agree on: a fun day that ignites the kids’ imaginations.