The annual event was created by Unesco on April 23, 1995.
It is a worldwide movement celebrating the world of books and reading, and is celebrated in more than 100 countries.
World Book Day 2023 falls on March 2, and schoolchildren are encouraged to go to school dressed as their favourite character while bringing along the accompanying book.
Often in schools, on the day, each child will promote their chosen book, discussing the story and why they chose that character, and sometimes there is a competition for the most authentic costume.
World Book Day’s mission looks to promote literacy and reading for pleasure and to ensure every child across the world has a book of their own.
The power of reading
Reading is one of the most effective ways to master the power of language.
Implementing the habit of reading in children, particularly at a young age, helps enhance their imagination and significantly improves brain development.
Whether a child reads for pleasure has also been called one of the single biggest indicators for a child’s future success, even more than their family circumstances, parents’ income, or educational background.
The first World Book Day in the UK and Ireland took place in 1997 and has continued to help encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading.
List of £1 books for World Book Day
The list of books released for World Book Day in the UK and Ireland for £1 for 2023 include:
Lifesize Creepy Crawlies, by Sophy Henn (Red Shed, Farshore)
Billy’s Bravery, by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
You Choose Your Adventure, by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Puffin)
Dave Pigeon: Bookshop Mayhem, by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Faber)
Marvel Spider-Man the Amazing Pocket Guide, by Catherine Saunders (DK)
The Boy with Wings: Attack of the Rampaging Robot, by Lenny Henry, illustrated by Keenon Ferrell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
A Dragon Realm Adventure, by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Adventure in the Floating Mountains, by L D Lapinski (Hachette Children’s Group)
Kay’s Brilliant Brains, by Adam Kay, illustrated by Henry Paker (Puffin)
Boot It!, by A M Dassu, illustrated by Zainab Faidhi (Old Barn Books)
Being an Ally: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again, by Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy (DK)
Hazel Tree Farm: One Stormy Night, by Alma Jordan, illustrated by Margaret Suggs (O’Brien Press) (only in Ireland)
Rita agus an Dragún, by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Mr Ando (An tSnáthaid Mhór) (only in Ireland)
Cyw, by Anni LlÅ·n (Y Lolfa) (only in Wales)
Costume ideas for World Book Day
The beauty of dressing up as a character for World Book Day means the options are endless, with many opting to make their own DIY costumes.
Children may opt to go as a classic character, like the Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, or as the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia.
Alternatively, children could choose a more modern character, like Gangsta Granny or Harry Potter. Some may even come as their favourite film or anime character.
World Book Day costumes for kids - in pictures
Classic character book ideas
Alice in Wonderland
Modern character book ideas
Costumes of certain characters can be bought online or at costume shops. Or kids and parents can get creative and build their own costumes from scratch, from things found around the house, or clothes from charity shops.