Every year, my school has a “Book Character Dress-up Day Parade” to kick off our annual, month-long Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) event. Once a week, the whole school – students, of course, but also teachers, admin, even the custodial staff and visitors – “drops everything and reads” for twenty minutes.
(The only people who miss out on this? Your friendly neighborhood librarians. We go about and photograph this, instead. Bummer!)
The parade is a big hit. All of the elementary students and teachers dress up as their favorite book character, and while the little kids really love it, sometimes we have a harder time motivating the big kids. Last year, the Teacher Librarian came up with the idea of a contest for students, which has now been extended to include staff, too. The art teachers judge the most creative costumes, and students win (what else?) books.
Our parade is on November, but posters go up early to get students thinking… Oh boy, are they thinking. Especially now that they know there will be a prize, the bigger kids are eagerly planning their costumes.
One student comes by every day after school for new books, and lately she’s been sharing her plans with me about her costume. She considered Violet, from A Series of Unfortunate Events and today she said maybe Paper Bag Princess, but her favorite idea so far is to be Matilda (from Matilda, of course).
Today, she told me about her Matilda costume plans. She has a blue dress and white bobby socks and red ribbon. I told her I thought it sounded like a great idea, and she asked what I planned to do.
Last year, I was The Little Prince. I told her I might wear that again, because I like it. I like The Little Prince and I read it to my fourth and fifth graders last year, so they’ll recognize the character.
My student said that would be “boring” (oh, honesty) and suggested that I be… Miss Honey!
Matilda was one of my absolute favorite movies as a kid. (I didn’t read the book until I was older. Naughty, naughty.) I loved Miss Honey and I always hoped that I would gain magic powers from boredom at school. (It never happened.)
I wanted to be Miss Honey. I still pause and ask myself “what would Miss Honey do?” sometimes during the day.
I’m so flattered that this student would suggest this as my costume. Not only do I love and admire Miss Honey, but that she would suggest we chose a pair of characters – a clever girl and her favorite, wonderful teacher – just filled me with joy.