23 April is World Book Day
Till then, I didn’t know that 23 April was designated as World Book Day at the UNESCO’s General Conference of 1995. Several parts of the world observe this day with literary events that promote reading and publishing. Alternatively, this day is marked as International Day of the Book, World Book Days and World Book and Copyright Day.
Quoting from the UNESCO site, this day was chosen because it is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.
It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
In the United Kingdom, however, this day is celebrated on the first Thursday in March and is already over.
Why have a Book Day?
So what’s the big deal about having a book day you may well ask. Especially these days when digital media has changed people’s reading habits. Almost everyone today has a Kindle. Print media is slowly going digital and the only books that seem to be doing thriving business are for children below two. That too is because most parents are averse to exposing their toddlers to the light emitted by screens.
But, one cannot deny the power of the written word. Especially when it is read from a book. A book can move you, elevate you, inspire you, inform you, educate you. Likewise, it can depress you, frighten you, terrify you and pain you.
Whatever the emotion it arouses, the written word will always affect you.
To my mind, reading is as important as breathing, eating and exercising.
There is no denying that flipping through the book, smelling the ink on paper, re-reading passages that you like and even underlining or making notes is only possible with a book.
And if reading is like soul food to us adults, it is all the more important that we teach our little ones the joy of reading.
In a 1998 study conducted by Lynn Fielding, it was found that more than 70% of children reading at a higher level at age 8 will go on to finishing high school.
In a similar study conducted in the UK reveals that there is a distinct correlation between learning and earning. A higher level of literacy ensures a higher earning capacity.
For more details on the benefits of reading to children, do read this article here.
And as for the adults, celebrate this day by browsing at a book store, visiting a local library or just picking up an old favourite from your bookshelf and re-discovering an old friend.
How do you plan on celebrating World Book Day?
Thank you Tom for inspiring this post.
*This quote has been taken from BOOKRIOT’s blog post.