World Book Day is much more than a day for dressing children up in elaborate literary costumes before packing them off to school or nursery – it’s a celebration of ideas. A celebration of education. And a celebration of the joys of storytelling.
This year’s World Book Day coincides with teachers’ strikes across the country. Teachers across the South East and South West regions of England, in London, and also in Wales are taking collective action over pay and conditions during the cost of living crisis.
So while school’s out, here is a World Book Day reading list full of ideas for young people. From Greta Thunberg to Elmer the Elephant, these are some inspirational stories to help young people learn about the purpose of collective action and unions and how to stand up for your rights.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
A classic from 2000 as the cows seize the means of production of letters – an old typewriter – and campaign for better working conditions. When Farmer Brown receives a note asking for electric blankets, he point blank refuses. But before long, the hens come out in solidarity with the striking cows who are refusing to supply milk until they are made more comfortable. And what will happen when the ducks get involved? A classic tale of solidarity and realising your worth for pre-schoolers and beyond. There’s even an audio book read by Rik Mayall.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker
Pictures paint thousands of words in Jeannie Baker’s classic picture book. Belonging shows a community coming together to reclaim their streets. As baby Tracy grows, she and her neighbours take collective action to benefit their community. Cars are stopped and the urban environment re-greened. They paint murals over vandalised walls. And this union of neighbours creates a safe place of nature and wonder for children. The message is inspirational for toddlers and primary school pupils alike. We can shape our futures and our environments when we join forces. What better ideas could there be on World Book Day?
The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
What happens when tools down tools? In this funny, charming book, a young boy called Duncan is stumped when his crayons go on strike. They are not satisfied with how they are being used. Red is exhausted from working overtime on Santa suits around Christmas and hearts on Valentine’s Day. Can the management (Duncan) and worker crayons find a solution to this colourful industrial dispute?