Friday, 24 February 2017

World book day heroes

World book day is the day that children up and down the country arrive at school dressed up as characters from their favourite books. Playgrounds will be awash with Harry Potters, Little red riding hoods and Gruffalo's to name but a few.
Facebook will be lovingly taken over by photos of happy smiling kids posing in the kitchens of every home. Spirits will be high, routine will be changed, and even the teachers join in with the fun by dressing up too, making it a day of frivolity and fun learning that everyone looks forward to.
Except maybe for that child that is crying in the corner of the corridor that hasn’t dressed up.

The child whose mum can’t get her through the front door because she is pacing up and down outside in the playground.

Or that child who is already sat on the carpet reading his book not joining in with the fun.

At first glance you could think that they were crying, or not joining in because their mum had forgotten their costume or they were just being silly.

But you could be wrong.

The child crying in the corner could be autistic or have Sensory Processing Disorder. And that child may have spent the previous week worrying about coming to school today……

But we normally do Maths on Thursday Morning, not assembly?

That costume is itchy!

It will look silly on me!

People will laugh at me!
I don't know what's happening?
I cant' see peoples faces? 
I'll be the only one not wearing one?
My teacher will look different!
But we wear uniforms to school, not costumes?
I don't know what to say to people about their costumes?
I will get too hot!
Face paint hurts me!                
My tummy feels all bubbly inside!
What happens when we have PE?
I know from experience that mum and dad will have spent the last week trying to prepare their child for today. But no matter how much they want their child to dress up like everyone else, but their child just has too many worries about the day that they can’t take away.

The world is confusing and unpredictable even on normal school days, so for their child today it must feel like they are walking into the lion’s den.
Believe me today is no fun for any of them.
But bravely they come to school, with half a costume, no costume, or maybe a book in hand is all they have managed. But really its not that important - they've got him in, and that's what really matters today.

Despite how anxious they were about the day ahead, their child has been so brave inside - and they have got them in!
Despite the noises, smells, costumes, scary faces and unpredictable changes to routine that lie ahead they have achieved the amazing - and come to school. That's a huge achievement.

So to that mum and dad today I say well done, and to your child I say I think you are amazing!
Yes your child may not have dressed up today like everyone else but it doesn’t make them any less. Your child is different yes, but never ever any less!
And please believe me I'm not writing this to put a dampener on what is a very fun day for many kids at school, I think its a fabulous day of celebration. But I write this so that you may stop and think - if you ever see a child not joining in, don’t make assumptions, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Because that child may not be a Gruffalo or a 'Cat in The hat' today. But they could well be one of the bravest little people in school instead, a true hero or heroine  - not a fictional one, but a real life one - and in my book  that deserves to be celebrated too!
Have a fab world book day folks, whatever you do. 
Mrs M x


  1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Philippa

  2. Couldn't agree more! Well written. My son once had a totally miserable day dressed as Peter pan (his then favourite character). The teacher told me he'd been so grumpy looking all day when I collected him. (This was pre - diagnosis). Looking back he did amazingly well to even hold it together all day. Books days since then have only been manageable if he knows he doesn't have to dress up. And I have never again pressured him. After all, its supposed to be fun...

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