Why do we celebrate World Book Day? When is it in 2022, costume ideas based on book characters and activities

From Harry Potter to Gangsta Granny, World Book Day is a great time to celebrate books and the joy of reading

<p>World Book Day aims to promote books and the joy of reading among kids and young adults (image: Adobe)</p>

World Book Day aims to promote books and the joy of reading among kids and young adults (image: Adobe)

Harry Potter, Gangsta Granny and Alice in Wonderland - some of the most enduring stories in our culture have come from books.

And this week, we get a chance to celebrate literature thanks to World Book Day 2022.

The annual celebration aims to develop an appreciation of books and the joy of reading among children and young adults.

And, to get into the spirit of the event, schools often let students dress up as their favourite characters.

World Book Day 2022 will be the 25th edition of the event in the UK (image: Adobe)

So, when is World Book Day 2022 - and what costumes could you dress your child up in?


Here’s everything you need to know.

What is World Book Day and why do we celebrate it?

Set up by United Nations (UN) culture agency Unesco in 1995, World Book Day was first held in the UK in 1997 - making this year the 25th UK edition of the event.

Every World Book Day, 15 million book tokens are given to British children under the age of 18 through their school or nursery.

These can be redeemed at most bookshops for any one of around a dozen special edition titles that are launched exclusively for World Book Day (see list below).

Or they can be used to get £1 off a non-World Book Day book or audiobook.


World Book Day activities often include dressing up as characters, like Harry Potter (image: Getty Images)

It is part of an attempt to get everyone into reading, regardless of their background or family’s financial status.

World Book Day aims to encourage children and their parents to spend 10 minutes a day either reading, or sharing stories with one another.

The organisation says this can aid a child’s future success, as studies have shown reading not only improves a kid’s vocabulary and test scores in English, but can also be good for their mental health.

Matt Lucas is one of the authors releasing a special edition book for World Book Day 2022 that can be redeemed with a National Book Token (image: Getty Images)

As well as providing the gift of reading, World Book Day also puts on family and educational events you can tune into.


A list of these can be found on the World Book Day website.

When is World Book Day 2022?

World Book Day 2022 is taking place on Thursday 3 March 2022.

However, World Book Day book tokens are already valid and can be used at participating retailers from now until Sunday 27 March.

Which books are being launched for World Book Day 2022?

Each year sees several of one-off books published by well-known authors.


These can be redeemed with a book token or, if your child wants more than one, are all priced at £1.

Books, such as Harry Potter, not only help improve a child’s vocabulary but can also help with their mental wellbeing (image: Getty Images)

Here is a full list of the special edition books that are being launched for World Book Day 2022:

Beginner readers:

  • ‘Rocket Rules: Ten Little Ways to Think Big!’ - Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola
  • ‘Dinosaur Roar and Friends!’ - Peter Curtis and Jeanne Willis
  • ‘Hey Duggee: The World Book Day Badge’ - Studio AKA

Early years readers:


  • ‘Grimwood: Five Freakishly Funny Fables’ - Nadia Shireen
  • ‘Jemima the Pig and the 127 Acorns’ - Michael Morpurgo and Guy Parker-Rees
  • ‘My Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book of True or False’ - Matt Lucas and Sarah Horne
  • ‘The Worst Class in the World in Danger!’ - Joanna Nadin and Rikin Parekh

Fluent readers:

  • ‘PEAK PERIL: A High-rise Mystery’ - Sharna Jackson
  • ‘The Wizard and Me: More Misadventures of Bubbles the Guinea Pig’ - Simon Farnaby and Claire Powell
  • ‘Think Like a Boss: Discover the skills that turn great ideas into CASH’ - Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Adam Hayes

Independent readers:

  • ‘The Last Word’ - Ben Bailey Smith
  • ‘Boy, Missing’ - Sophie McKenzie

Ireland-only releases:


  • ‘Deadly! Irish History: Fun with the Celts and the Vikings!’ - John Farrelly
  • ‘Cluasa Capaill ar an Rí’ - Bridget Bhreathnach and Shona Shirley Macdonald

World Book Day costumes

Many UK schools mark World Book Day by allowing pupils to come in wearing book-themed fancy dress.

If you’re pressed for time, we’ve rounded up the best World Book Day 2022 costumes to buy online here.

But if you want to make your own, here are some simple costume ideas you can put together on a budget:


  • Gangsta Granny - David Walliams has become a bestseller off the back of this fun character. All you need is a blouse, a cardigan and a grey wig (or some grey hair dye) to turn your child into an improvised Gangsta Nan
  • Harry Potter or Hermione Granger - Handily, J.K. Rowling’s prospective wizards all wear standard school uniforms. So you just need a tie and a stick for a wand (and some glasses and a lightning bolt scar if you’re going for Harry Potter)
  • Long John Silver - Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ character offers the excuse for you to dress your kid as a pirate. All you need is a white shirt, black trousers and a painted-on beard to get the look going. You can make an eye patch out of cardboard and string. And if buying a hat seems a bit much, find some material you can turn into a bandana
  • Peter Pan or Wendy - Peter Pan needs an oversized green polo top and a pair of tights (preferably green). You can fashion a cone hat out of card and colour or paint it green. For Wendy, you just need to put your child in their sunday best and give them a ribbon hair tie

You can find more dressing up ideas on the World Book Day website.

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