World Book Day – What Is It & Our Top Costume Picks

Thursday, 7th March, 2019 is this year’s World Book Day. It’s a day for children to celebrate books and reading, and at schools and nurseries across the country children will be invited to dress up as their favourite character from a book. The event is a UNESCO initiative that is celebrated world wide but here in the UK the World Book Day Charity works with the National Book Token scheme to give every child in school and nursery a free book.

£1 Books for World Book Day


Your child will be coming home from school or nursery with a book token to buy a free book from your local book shop. The tokens can only be used for books that have been especially produced for World Book Day.

If your child has missed out on a token because they haven’t started school / nursery yet, or they have somehow lost the token, then fear not, because the World Book Day books can also be purchased for the bargain price of £1.

The selection of books changes every year, with popular children’s authors getting in on the action and creating special books for the event. This year’s selection has some crackers that are guaranteed to be a big hit with your child. Mike Brownlow & Simon Rickerty have produced a follow up to their Ten Little series that is popular with pre-schoolers with Ten Little Bookworms. There’s a re-release of a Percy Jackson short story by Rick Riordan, and fans of Lego will love Mini-Figure Mayhem – a fact book that is packed with jokes and challenges. Other authors who are featured include Jeff Kinney, Lauren Child, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

World Book Day Costumes Available to Buy Online

Little girl reading magic book, fantasy concept

Many of us parents shudder at the thought of a school dress up day, especially when we’re not that creative or simply don’t have the time to dig out the sewing machine. Thankfully, as World Book Day has become more and more popular in recent years, many of the UK’s retailers are getting in on the action by selling a vast range of costumes. Here are some of our favourites.

Superhero Costumes


Don’t let anyone tell you that your child can’t dress up as a superhero for World Book Day because they’re cartoon characters rather than book characters. Most of the popular superheroes originated from comic books, and whilst some people might be prejudiced against this form of literature (because they’re a bit snobby) there is no denying that comic books have played a vital role in getting children, especially boys, into reading. For this reason, we think that superheroes should be celebrated on World Book Day, not ignored.

There are a fabulous range of Superhero costumes, and we particularly like the Thor costume that comes complete with the legendary hammer, Mjölnir. Don’t forget, girls can be heroes too, and there are some fabulous Batgirl costumes.

Buy Superhero Costumes

Superhero Books

This Marvel Avengers Reading Adventures book contains six superhero stories that is ideal for children in key stage one.

Buy Superhero Books

Roald Dahl Costumes


Roald Dahl remains one of the most popular children’s authors in the UK. There are so many wonderful characters to choose from, including the Fantastic Mr Fox. Of course, one of Dahl’s most famous stories has to be Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Amazon have a range of costumes from the book, including Willy Wonka, and the Oompa Loompas. If your child prefers something little quirkier, then check out this Golden Ticket costume.

Buy Roald Dahl Costumes

Roald Dahl Books

If you haven’t introduced your child to the wonderful world of Roald Dahl, then World Book Day is the perfect opportunity to do so. This box set is a great place to start.

Buy Roald Dahl Books

Children’s Classics Costumes


You can’t beat the classic children’s stories. They have been enchanting children for decades and will no doubt continue to do so. Fans of Alice In Wonderland will love a Mad Hatter costume with boys and girls versions available. Alternatively, you could have a little Peter Pan or Little Red Riding Hood to send off to school. We also love a Mary Poppins costume (yes, it was a book before it was a movie). Finally, what about an adorable Paddington Bear costume or a cute little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume.

Buy World Book Day Costumes

Classic Books

You can get a box set of children’s classic stories on Amazon. However, some of the language used can be inaccessible to younger readers, and this set offers versions of the classics that have been re-written for younger readers.

Buy Classic Books Collection | For Younger Readers

Disney Pixar Costumes


Just like superheroes, some people dismiss Disney characters for World Book Day as not “counting” as book characters. However, most of the Disney movies are based on classic fairy tales. Furthermore, even those that were not originally based on fairy tales have spawned a huge range of literature, such as picture books, early reading books, and story collections. There are a range of Disney princess inspired costumes, such as the Little Mermaid and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. For Toy Story fans, there are Woody and Buzz Lightyear costumes, as well as plenty others.

Buy Disney Costumes

Disney Books

Disney stories make for great bedtime reading. This 5 Minute Disney Pixar Stories collection contains some of Pixar’s best loved characters, whilst this Princess Bedtime Stories collection features several of Disney’s most popular princess characters.

Buy Disney Books

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fiction Characters


Sci-Fi and Fantasy is a popular genre of fiction, especially amongst older children. Of course, some of the most popular characters derived from tales that originated on the big screen, such as Star Wars, but these have since spawned multiple books that have helped to engage young readers. There are a number of Star Wars costumes available online, including a slightly terrifying Darth Vader costume.

One of the biggest hits in children’s literature in the last twenty years is the Harry Potter series of books, and at this time of year you will find Harry Potter themed costumes on most shop shelves. We love a Harry Potter costume featuring one of the Hogwarts houses. If your child prefers something a little scarier, then perhaps they might like to dress up as a Death Eater for the day.

The third and final instalment of the movie series of How To Train Your Dragon was released a few weeks ago and many children will want to dress up as characters from either the movie or the books that inspired them. There are several options available, including Hiccup, Toothless, and Astrid.

Buy Sci Fi Costumes

Sci Fi & Fantasy Books

Reluctant young readers may be encouraged to read about their favourite Star Wars characters in a book set. Harry Potter books are widely available online and in shops, but more recently, illustrated versions of the first three books have been released with more to be released in the future. The first How To Train Your Dragon book is also a good one.

Buy Sci Fi & Fantasy Books

Easy World Book Day Costumes to Make at Home

Girls reading

If money is tight, or you simply loathe the idea of spending money on a costume that is only going to be worn once, then you might be considering making something for your child to wear instead. There’s just one problem: You have no idea how to sew. Fear not, because here are some easy peasy costume ideas that won’t break the bank.

Charlie Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket has to be one of the easiest costumes to make. All your child need is some tatty clothes, which, unless your child is some sort of angel who never ventures outside, you will undoubtedly already own. Get some gold card from a craft shop to make a golden ticket and your child is good to go.

Buy Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Greg Heffley – Diary of a Wimpy Kid

You will need a white t-shirt, black shorts, white trainers, and a black backpack. Yep, it’s that simple.

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid


Your own little bookworm will need a blue dress and a pile of books.

Buy Matilda

Horrid Henry

This one does require a blue and yellow stripy jumper so if you have one then great. On the other hand, if you have a blue jumper and some old yellow material from an old t-shirt, etc. then you could cut out some stripes and temporarily pin them on. Then all your child needs is some blue jogging bottoms and messy hair. Plus a terrible attitude.

Buy Horrid Henry

Gangsta Granny

David Walliam’s feisty grandma can easily make an appearance. Your child will need some tights that are too big for them so they wrinkle on the shins, a plain skirt, a flowery cardigan (either from your wardrobe or that of your mother!), and a blouse. Make a bandit eye mask with some card (or use face paint) and you can make a white-hair granny wig by getting cotton wool balls and sticking them all over an old shower cap or swimming cap.

Buy Gangsta Granny