World Book Night is here! April 23, 2014 – Posted in: Reading / Literacy
World Book Night started in the U.K. in 2011 and on April 23rd every year publishers, authors, booksellers, libraries and volunteers join forces to spread the love of reading and distribute hundreds of thousands of books for free.
The mission is simple:
To give “books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.”
Between 30-35 books are chosen annually by a panel of booksellers and librarians. The author’s then waive their royalties and the publishers pay for producing World Book Night editions which are sent to to “host” booksellers and libraries. They in turn distribute then to volunteer book “givers” who personally hand them out.
And why on April 23rd you might wonder?
April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death day of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that we choose it to celebrate World Book Night.
April 23 also marks the city of Barcelona’s celebration of St George’s Day. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as England and traditionally, to celebrate this day, Spanish gentlemen gave their ladies roses and the ladies returned the favour with a book. Considering the rich literary history of this day, it seemed more than fitting that April 23 should be chosen as the day of celebrating reading and the giving of books!
For the first time, this year, volunteers in the UK can opt to give any book of their choosing instead of the ones selected.
My only wish is that it was held twice a year, the other being Oct. 31st on Halloween, so we can spread the love of reading to our kids instead of sugar.