Wbd worked out for us in the end, but it was really hard for my mixed race dd to find a character she felt happy with. She reads avidly, and her favourite characters are darrell rivers, dido twite, Lyra, etc etc. all white. While I encouraged her to dress up as anybody, she wasn't happy with any white characters.
Now I think this is not the point of wbd, you are supposed to dress up as your favourite, right? And we can identify with and dress up as any character regardless of our colouring, right?
But if the head is praising children for dressing up as their 'look-like' character and awarding prizes to the ones who look like their character this does not promote children's confidence to identify with people different from themselves.
And after all is it not a opportunity in any 'world' celebration day to be inclusive?
I hope that next year it is bring in and talk about your favourite book.... It will involve more reading and thinking on the part of the children than spending money and stressing on the part of the parents.
Anyone in a more diverse part of the country have a positive multicultural world book day?
The head had a strange take on the idea. It was always dress up as your fave book character at my DC's schools. I suppose it could help people to work out who the character was if there was a physical resemblance, but it's the costume that was praised. The ethnicity never even came into it.
Op, think about children of colour in general, there are very few main book characters that they can relate to. Harry potter, lord of the rings, war horse etc were all popular but failed to relate to non white readers. Growing up in the 80's my siblings and I were blessed to have parents who sourced literature from the Caribbean, but not all of my friends or family were so lucky.
I don't know if you have looked at the Willesden Bookshop website, but they specialise in multi cultural books. It is a good source but, unfortunately, seems to have plenty of picture books for younger readers but not so many chapter books for age 6+.
If you're just looking for books for black or mixed race children, Malorie Blackman's books are great. DS loved them & now DD2 is reading one of hers about vampires since that's her thing at the moment. The characters aren't well known generally though so not particularly good for world book day.