Visit a school on March 5th and you will be sure to see children and adults dressed as book characters. I’ve even done it myself in the past. I’ve been The Snow Queen, The Queen of Hearts and Cruella de Vil.
On this day, children will often take their favourite books to school and may swap those they no longer need for ones they haven’t read. The assembly will usually involve one of the teachers reading from their favourite (or what they say is their favourite) book. Everyone will do some writing on the theme, possibly a book review. Then they will go home, hang up their costumes and carry on as normal.
It is a very enjoyable day and highlights the importance of books and reading. Because books are important. As Thomas Carlyle said: “All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been, it is all lying in magic preservation in the pages of books.”
Books are always there for us and, as much as I appreciate the chance to celebrate them on a particular day, we need to be extolling their worth each and every day. We need to make time for them alongside the computer games and television programmes and social media sites.
In ‘The History Boys’ by Alan Bennett, Hector, the English teacher, sums up the value of books brilliantly: The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.
I have been working for Oxford Open Learning since 2010 and love helping my students with their English and History courses. As a teacher and personal tutor, I have taught pupils from all around the world, aged from three to adult. I am often to be found with my head in a book and sometimes I have four or five on the go at the same time. I love learning about History and Art and am passionate about literature.