Children, adults and authors have celebrated a World Book Day “more important than ever” amid coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Postboxes in five cities were decorated by Royal Mail to celebrate local authors, while thousands of children dressed up as their favourite literary characters – including Lucy from Kent.
The 11-year-old, whose mother Sam did not want her second name to be shared, has special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and was delighted to don a Rapunzel’s tower outfit made by her mum.
“The idea of Rapunzel seemed appropriate after a year of what felt like being locked up in our house,” Sam told the PA news agency.
“We were shielding for seven months at the start and it felt very isolating.
“Luckily Lucy’s school day this week fell on World Book Day so we had to celebrate it and it felt good to do something ‘normal’ for once. I love making the costumes… she loves wearing them!”
Most school children are set to return to school next week in England, but despite being stuck at home seven-year-old Alice Holton from Southampton donned a cloak and ring to become Frodo Baggins.
“She’s recently watched all the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit movies and enjoyed them a lot so it was an easy choice,” said Alice’s dad Craig Holton, a 46-year-old online project manager.
“We’ve always enjoyed World Book Day so we weren’t going to let lockdown stop us and her school have been very good so there were dress-up Zoom calls and a host of Word Book Day activities.”
Some children are already back at school, such as children of key workers at Cheam Common Junior Academy in Worcester Park, London – who wore costumes varying from Mr Bump and the Cat in the Hat to Doctor Who.
“Children from across the school made a wonderful effort, both at home and at school, dressing up in costumes and sharing their favourite characters,” said Christopher Perrott, vice-principal at Cheam Common Junior Academy.
“Highlights included children taking part in virtual author sessions, online art lessons with famous book illustrators, children drafting their very own poems inspired by a diverse range of books and using a range of apps to share their work.
“By using Google Meet to unite everybody, both at home and in school, no child felt left out and was able to take part in all of the celebrations planned leading to much excitement and enjoy.”
Meanwhile, specially designed postboxes were unveiled in London, Cardiff, Sheffield, Belfast and Oban to commemorate the works of favourite authors.
The mailboxes will be on display for a month and include Sheffield’s brightly decorated tribute to local author-illustrator Lydia Monks’ What The Ladybird Heard, a book she co-created with Julia Donaldson.
“It’s lovely to see… I think we all need a bit of cheering up at the moment, and hopefully, it will give families another place to visit while we are under the restrictions,” Ms Monks told PA.
“World Book Day seems more important than ever this year, as we are all spending so much more time on screens.
“Put down the device and pick up a book just for a few minutes! If you can possibly find the time to share a story with your little ones, you and they will be reaping the rewards for years to come.”