Happy World Book and Copyright Day!
Dating back to April 23, 1995, this celebration was started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. April 23 is the anniversary of the deaths of William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
Each year since 2001, UNESCO chooses a city to act as the World Book Capital. This city then plans events and programs over the next year to promote and foster reading. The World Book Capital for 2018 is Athens, Greece, with the 2019 title going to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
World Book Day is observed in more than 100 countries, so how does the world celebrate?
In Spain, the king and queen present the Cervantes Prize in Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of the famous writer. About twenty miles away in Madrid, Cervantes’ Don Quixote is read non-stop for 48 hours.
The United Kingdom celebrated World Book Day this year on March 1, with children dressing up as their favorite characters and attending school and community events. Book tokens worth £1 are handed out to children, who then use them to buy books or exchange them for specific World Book Day books.
In other countries, World Book Day is celebrated with special book discounts, costumes, and lots and lots of social media posts about gorgeous libraries.
Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate:
- Create a literary scavenger hunt with friends.
- Read an entire book today.
- Visit your local bookstore and/or library.
- Organize your bookshelf.
- Dress up as your favorite literary character.
- Attend a reading—or host your own.
- Download Amazon’s nine free World Book Day Kindle books.
- Donate your old books to pass on the gift of reading.
- Start a book club or book swap.
- Use your favorite quote as a writing prompt.
Here at New Rivers Press, we’re celebrating by continuing our work of giving a platform to new and emerging voices. How are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments below!