We love books, and our friends at UNESCO agree. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proposed World Book Day as a day of celebrating the joy of reading for enjoyment.
One hundred countries observe World Book Day, and why not? Children who regularly read for enjoyment have higher test scores, develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures than their non-reading counterparts.
Reading is a stellar form of entertainment and it requires that you use your imagination rather than simply watching visuals on a screen. There is also something so therapeutic about the actual feel of a book, with its scent of printed pages and glossy covers.
World Book Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on April 23, 1995. This date is chosen because it is the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and prominent Spanish chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Surprisingly, there are several other famous authors who have also died on April 23, like William Wordsworth and David Halberstam.
Around the world, there are many other dates on which World Book Day takes place. The UK, Sweden, and Ireland all celebrate World Book Day on different dates.
23 April is World Book and Copyright Day.
It’s unmistakable. The musty, slightly sweet smell of books. Not the new ones of a book shop, but those whose pages have been thumbed by many others before you. This is the scent of the library.
Two academics have been on the trail, to trace the origins of the library from the ancient papyrus scrolls of Alexandria, to the popular modern mobile library of the Orkney Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland.
World Book Day changes lives through a love of books and shared reading.
Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income.
World Book Day was created by UNESCO on 23rd April 1995 as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. It is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. The first World Book Day in the UK and Ireland took place in 1997 to encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading.
As World Book Day founder, Baroness Gail Rebuck, recalls “We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.”
Proposed one hundred years ago, World Book Day is now celebrated annually in over 100 countries to promote the enjoyment of reading and books on 23 April. Fundamentally, it is a celebration of the enjoyment of books, reading and storytelling. World Book and Copyright Day is a recognition of power of books to cross space, time and generations, uniting cultures and linking the present with the future and the past.
Setting aside a day to celebrate books traces its beginnings to Spanish writer Vicente Clavel Andrés. In 1922 he proposed the idea as a way to honor fellow countryman author Miguel de Cervantes. Four years later the first celebration took place on 7 October, Cervantes’ birthday, but was moved to 23 April, the date of his death, in 1930.
Annually since 2001, one city around the world is chosen to be the UNESCO World Book Capital for a year. The selected city is tasked with carrying out activities over its year-long designation to encourage “a culture of reading and diffusing its values in all ages and population groups in and out of the national borders.”
Starting 23 April 2022, Guadalajara, Mexico will be the World Book Capital and during the following 12 months will implement its program on “policies around the book to trigger social change, combat violence and build a culture of peace.” The activities will focus on three main areas, regaining public spaces, social bonding and cohesion and strengthening neighborhood identity.
Image courtesy thinkaboutnow.com