CRUELLA de Vill and The Twits were among the colourful characters attending lessons today (Thursday, March 6) as schools across the region celebrated World Book Day.

Roald Dahl’s colourful books provided inspiration for children at Red House Nursery and Infants School in Norton, Stockton.

Youngsters and staff members dressed up as characters inspired by their favourite books including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox.

Staff member Sarah Tomlinson said the event captured the imaginations of the children and helped bring the love of reading and learning to life.

The Education Village in Darlington welcomed Darlington Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, Cyndi Hughes, who talked to students about their passion for books.

Coun Hughes met a group of ‘reading VIP’ students who spend their free time in the library because they enjoy reading so much.

She was also impressed with the 60 meters of bunting made by students depicting their favourite books.

Hummersknott Academy pupils in Darlington turned into bookworms for the whole week and took part in a national sponsored Readathon to raise money for charities CLIC Sargent and The Roald Dahl Foundation.

In Newton Aycliffe, pupils at Sugar Hill Primary School were awarded free books for the best literary-themed outfits in each class and the children took part in a book swap and special assemblies.

Jennifer McCormack, the school’s literary co-ordinator, said: “The children thought it was absolutely fabulous and they were so excited.

“It has raised the profile of reading for pleasure and that is something which we are trying to promote at the school.”

A host of Durham schools also embraced the event, with activities for pupils of all ages taking place at Durham High School for Girls.

Nursery children dressed in their pyjamas, reception class attended in princess costumes and year one pupils donned Jack and the Beanstalk-themed dress.

Older pupils decorated their form room doors to look like book covers and shared their passion for their favourite book with their peers in the Speed Dating a Reader game.

Meanwhile, Durham School was visited by storyteller Taffy Thomas and pupils designed posters and books to promote their top read.

Schools in Tanfield Lea, Langley Moor, Witton Gilbert and Brandon welcomed a visit from illustrator Nick Sharratt.

World Book Day was launched by UNESCO 17-years-ago as a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading and it is observed in over 100 countries.