End the Movie-isation of World Book Day


Today is World Book Day. For last year’s World Book Day, I wrote about how we should focus on supporting independent authors rather than constantly turning to the well known authors. My post this year makes a similar appeal and builds on the problems with World Book Day that tend to stem from primary schools (at least based on my experience in the UK).

While the focus of the day is meant to be on books, children are often encouraged to dress up as favourite characters from books. This sounds wonderful. But, the consequence tends to be that the focus goes on to characters that have been shown in movies – the ones where there are either ready-made costumes or where a home-made parental effort can be easily achieved. The message that this sends – whether intentional or not – is that books a merely a prototype to movies and to be successful a book should be dramatized on TV or as a movie.

Where is the encouragement to try a book from a new or up-and-coming author? Where is the encouragement to have a child dress up as a character that others may not have heard of and to educate classmates and teachers about this person? How about even dressing up as a real person that they have read about in a factual book? I really hope this does go on – and I’m sure that there are many who do this – but peer pressure and norms are hard to deal with (for both children and their parents) and I fear that all too often an opportunity to show the power of books is being lost.

One of the things that I have liked about the COVID-19 pandemic has been that I have had a chance to move away from merely tsundoku – whereby you enjoy buying and collecting books, but not actually reading them – to actually spending some time reading. Over the past year I have done a number of book reviews – follow the link to see them (the list will update so, depending on when you follow the link, you will find reviews written after I wrote this post). My main recommendations (from books I read in the last 12 months – not necessarily books published in the last 12 months) would be:

Of course, if you would like to support my own books, then I would be delighted. I have a number of academic/non-fiction books and have also written three novels, Hijacking Japan, Tokyo 20/20 Vision, and FOUR.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to spending some of World Book Day by starting to read the second book by up-and-coming author Elle Marr, Lies We Bury.

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