Book week has returned to the Yass Valley in style, with costumes, parades and celebrations abundant across the Yass township’s schools. Among schools celebrating between Monday the 20th of August to Friday, the 25th includes Yass High School, Mount Carmel School and Berinba Public School, as well as Yecca and Yass Library. 

A catalogue of colour during the Berinba Book Week Parade

Other schools, including Murrumbateman Public School, Bowning Public School and Yass Public School will be holding celebrations later in the year in combination with Grandparents Day, with Bowning School set to celebrate on the 22nd of September and Yass Public towards the end of the school year. 

Berinba Public School Book Week Parade held on Friday

The theme for this year’s Book Week is Read, Grow and Inspire, with various books in numerous age groups including young adult and early childhood categories offering shortlisted stories that match the theme and audience. 

Favourite characters came to life at the Berinba Book Week Parade 2023

At Mount Carmel School, students enjoyed a day of elaborate costumes and parade on Wednesday the 23rd, with an author visit the following day featuring workshops and activities on writing and illustration. 

Josephine & Phoenix Streatfeild as Willy Wonka & the Golden Ticket from Roald Dahl’s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Beginning at 12:30pm and running for roughly an hour, the parade saw a huge turnout, with parents, family and other visitors from the community flocking to observe the sea of extravagant costumes featured on students and teachers alike. 


“It was really good. Each class took a turn to parade around, the teacher announced who they were dressed as and what book it was from, often they brought the book along with them so they were parading with a book. We had visitors, parents, grandparents, and then the library monitors did a dance and the parents came in for a look in the library”, said Librarian Natalie Broers.


“They always enjoy getting to see what the teachers have come dressed as, that happened just after recess, the teachers came to school dressed up and set the scene”. 

Mt Carmel had a visit from a friendly Dalek from a Doctor Who novel

Seeing the week as not just an opportunity for self-expression and creativity in a non-judgemental setting, Natalie also feels the week serves as a means of inspiring children to be more interested in reading and writing, with the week overall serving as a celebration of all things book-related. 


“I guess it’s a celebration of books, authors and illustrators. Some children really love this time of year, it’s their favourite day in the school year. It’s a nice community event too, it’s one of the bigger draws into the school for families to get involved in”, said Natalie. 


Notable costumes and appearances include a life-sized Dalek model, made at home and featuring a not-so-hostile driver. The costume was created by Victoria and Daniel Kelly and also featured outside local cafe Trader and Co before its appearance at Mount Carmel School. 

Mt Carmel’s library had a storybook transformation and included class displays

Librarian Natalie Broers & Assistant Lynne Patmore

Resuming the following day, students at Mount Carmel were treated to a visit from author Barbie Robinson and illustrator Ian Robertson, showcasing their new book Phoenix and Ralph, before then teaching students about the intricacies of writing.


“She (Barbie) likes her books to have a moral or a message for children to take away, things like resilience, not giving up, making the best of a bad decision, that kind of thing, being optimistic about things even if something has gone wrong”, said Natalie. 


Students were given the opportunity to create their own titles, covers and basic plots, which served as a fun and engaging lesson for the children, as well as an opportunity to be creative. 


 “They didn’t realise how many people were involved with making a book or about the different processes the author might go through. They were really quite engaged with the small group activities, they had lots of ideas on what their books could be about. They did quite a good job”, said Natalie. 


Yass High also joined the celebrations, holding a parade on Friday the 25th that assisted in raising funds for Yass High’s involvement in the Write A Book In A Day competition, successfully raising $207. 


“It was fabulous”, said English teacher Alice Barnes.

Yass High School English teacher Ian Munn as Man from Snowy River with his trusty stead

“We decided to make it a fundraiser because we have a group of students entering the Write A Book In A Day competition, which is a national competition, which raises funds for kids’ cancer projects, but also provides digital literature for children in hospital. We’ll be doing that in late September, but in order to enter the competition we had to raise some money, so we saw an opportunity to utilise book week”. 


While Yass High used to be a regular participant in Book Week, the school hadn’t held a costume parade in some years, with this year’s celebration serving as a successful test run for any future events. 

Full steam ahead for Blake Hollingsworth, confidently stepping out as the Number 1 Engine ‘Thomas’

“We know it’s very popular in primary schools, and apparently Yass High used to do it many years ago, but it has been a long time, so it was a bit of a test for the school community, but it was wonderful to see most of the school students engaging with the day”, said Alice. 


“It’s just a great day to acknowledge how important books are in our lives, doesn’t matter what subject. We thought it was a real success, and look forward to making it bigger and better next year ”.


Yecca preschool, who in partnership with Yass Valley Library read three leading shortlisted books for the year, before then enjoying craft activities and decorating the library. 


Griffin Palen