“Books are the ladder of human progress,” says Gorky.
April 23 is World Book Day. The full name of World Book Day is “World Book and Copyright Day”, also translated as “World Book Day/International Day of the Book”. The original idea came from the International Publishers Association. It’s a day set for reading and calling on people’s awareness of protecting intellectual property. But how much do you know about this day?
History of World Book Day
In 1972, UNESCO issued a call to the world “Build a reading society”, requiring all members of society to read books and making reading an indispensable part of people’s daily lives.
The proposal for a World Book Day was proposed by Spain, inspired by the “Saint George’s Day” in Catalonia, Spain. According to the library magazine, World Book Day comes from a legend in Catalonia, Spain: “The beautiful princess was trapped in the mountains by an evil dragon. The warrior George alone defeated the dragon and rescued the princess; the princess gave George a gift in return. It’s a book.” Since then, the book has become a symbol of courage and strength. So April 23 becomes “St. George’s Day”. During the festival, the residents of Catalonia have the custom of giving roses and books to relatives and friends.
In 1995, the International Publishers Association put forward the idea of “World Book Day” at the twenty-fifth global conference, and the Spanish government submitted the plan to UNESCO. Later, UNESCO officially proclaimed April 23 as “World Book Day”.
Trivia: April 23 is also the anniversary of the death of Spanish writer Cervantes.
This day is also the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death and the birthdays of American writer Nabokov, French writer Maurice Drouin, Iceland Nobel Prize winner Laxness, and many other writers. So it seems “justifiable” that this day becomes Global Book Day.
Aims of World Book Day
World Book Day is to encourage people all over the world to read. Whether old or young, poor or rich, sick or healthy, you can enjoy reading, respecting, and appreciating the literary, cultural, scientific, and ideological masters who have made outstanding contributions to human civilization and can protect intellectual property rights.
Celebrate World Book Day Around the World
According to research, since the announcement of “World Book Day”, more than 100 countries and regions have participated in this activity. Many countries will carry out various actions on this day or in a week or a month. Libraries, media, publishers, schools, shops, communities, and other institutions will donate books during this period and then hold events that encourage people to read.
In China, to encourage more people to read and write and cultivate citizens’ awareness of intellectual property protection. China Central Radio and Television Station will launch relevant reading cultural programs and play them on CCTV. The non-governmental reading associations will also organize reading activities, and participants can get free books participating in the activities. These activities can make more people feel the charm of books and knowledge and enjoy the joy of reading.
Local people often advance the “Reading Day” celebration to March 6. According to statistics, more than 1,000 celebration activities are held in schools, libraries, and bookstores every year, including story character imitation competitions, noon storytime, etc. On Reading Day 2004, writers’ lectures/exchanges were held online, and they broadcasted reading-related programs. Some educational institutions and bookstores will also issue Book Tokens with a face value of £1 to children, allowing them to exchange for a favorite book at the bookstores that are Book Day members. The organizer specially published 6 new books for World Book Day and set up a list of good books, recommending 25 interesting books to children and providing a series of activity suggestions for teachers to use as a teaching reference.
The Catalonia region is where “World Book Day” originated, and there is a local tradition. On Book Day, you’ll see many people walking down the street with roses, just like on Valentine’s Day, which is very interesting. And almost every year, on April 23, books will be 10% off, and the price of roses will rise sharply.
The Tokyo government promulgated a decree to designate April 23 as Children’s Reading Day, with the long-term goal of developing children’s abilities in language, imagination, and sensitivity to help them “experience life” more deeply. In 2005, the Yomiuri Shimbun of Japan surveyed the reading situation in the whole country, and the results were as follows:
- 14% read for one hour a day
- 19% read for half an hour a day
- 10% read for 20 minutes a day
- 9% read 10 minutes a day
- 27% do not read.
The results show that about 80% of the people do not like to read or have little time to read. To cultivate children’s interests on reading,kids are given preferential treatment and are encouraged to read more on World Book Day.
General Secretary Xi Jinping said, “Reading can keep people’s thoughts alive, inspire them with wisdom, and nourish their spirit.” By opening the world in the way of literature, you can experience a different life. By reading more books, you can enjoy diverse landscapes in books, feel the cultural heritage between the lines, and enrich the spiritual world.
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