At Glenthorne High School, we celebrate World Book Day with a week of literary based activities. These usually start with an author visit who speaks to an entire year group. In the past we’ve had Sarah Govett, Paul Dowswell and many more visit. This year we are extremely fortunate to have Frank Cottrell-Boyce speak to all of our Year 7 students to help kick off the week. Having an author speak to students in person is a very effective way to inspire students to become lifelong readers and to embark in creative projects.
During the week of activities we typically have a theme to base our programs around. One year our theme was “Harry Potter vs. The Hunger Games” to see which series the students preferred. We had games like Quidditch Ping Pong, Hunger Games Scavenger Hunt & Harry Potter & Hunger Games Badge Making to get students excited about the event. Students were asked to dress up as a character from one of those series.
Last year we had a broader theme called “Heroes & Villains” which let students dress up as a wider range of characters. We always have an Open Mic during World Book Day celebrations to allow the students to express themselves and their love of reading in front of their peers.
This year, our big event will be to reveal the winner of The Bookling, the Book Award that we run every year. Six books are shortlisted and we interact with each author either through in-person visits or via Skype. In the past we have revealed the winner in July but this year I’m shortening the voting period to make it part of World Book Day. Over five hundred students will vote on their favourite cover and blurb. We’ve also had over two hundred and fifty students read the books and write thoughtful reviews to allow us to judge the winner. This event will be live-Tweeted so the authors can follow along as we reveal the winners during the week.
Another event we are excited about is the staff Book-Talk Battle. Staff will bring in an age appropriate book that they love and will spend five minutes promoting it to a packed student audience in the Library. Each student in attendance will have a chance to win the book that the staff member promotes. The students will also vote on the best staff book talk. This will be a fun and effective way to bring new staff to the Library and to let students see them in a different light as they promote their favourite books.
I think World Book Day is an important day because it allows students to express their love of reading to their peers and teachers through the fun and exciting dressing up day. By making it a week long series of different events, it draws in new faces to the Library, creates a lot of positive attention generally gets students really excited about sharing the stories they love. It also allows the Library to reach out to staff members in the school who typically don’t have time to come through the doors. We invite all staff to dress up and take part in activities like voting for the Book Award and taking part in the Open Mic. World Book Day is a lot of work and a lot of fun for everyone involved. Each year we try to do as much as possible to involved the entire school.
About the Author
Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Lucas Maxwell has spent the past five years as Head Librarian at Glenthorne High School in South London, UK. He is a contributor for Book Riot and has written for School Library Journal & the School Librarian Magazine. In 2017 he was fortunate enough to be named the UK’s School Librarian of the Year by the School Library Association.