“Our books and our pens are the most powerful weapon” – Malala Yousafzai
Celebrating authors, publishers, illustrators, books, and reading, World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, is the largest worldwide celebration of books. Begun in 1995 by UNESCO, the event was created to promote reading, publishing, and copyright, and it is truly the perfect celebration for Bucknell Press and anyone who likes a good book.
Celebrated in most of the world on April 23, the date was originally connected to books by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain in 1923. Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés chose it to honor author Miguel de Cervantes who died on an April 23. However, several other authors, such as William Shakespeare, Vladimir Nabokov, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, died or were born on that date.
On this day, make sure to take the time to spend with a good book and to consider the cultural and social value books and publishing create so that you can take the value of books and literacy with you throughout your life. Still today, books are burned and schools are attacked. With literacy essential in empowerment and books necessary for freedom of expression as well as the spread of information, recognize the power that a book can hold.
Globally, cities have taken this to heart. Since 2000, World Book Capital City, inspired by World Book and Copyright day, occurs where a city is chosen to uphold the ideals of World Book Day until the following year’s celebration and a new city is chosen to promote reading in its population. For 2015, it was Incheon, South Korea and this 2016 it changes to Wrocław, Poland. With the event celebrated in over 100 countries and by millions of people, almost all regions of the world have been touched by this event and the love for books.
And check out this page to see what events UNESCO has for you.
Message from UNESCO’s Director-General for 2015:
World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.
As global symbols of social progress, books – learning and reading — have become targets for those who denigrate culture and education, who reject dialogue and tolerance. In recent months, we have seen attacks on children at school and the public burning of books. In this context, our duty is clear – we must redouble efforts to promote the book, the pen, the computer, along with all forms of reading and writing, in order to fight illiteracy and poverty, to build sustainable societies, to strengthen the foundations of peace.
UNESCO is leading the fight against illiteracy, to be included as a crucial ingredient of the Sustainable Development Goals to follow 2015. Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, play an essential role here. With 175 million adolescents in the world -– mostly girls and young women — unable to read a single sentence, UNESCO is committed to harnessing information and communication technologies, especially mobile technology, to support literacy and to reach the unreached with quality learning.
Books are invaluable platforms for freedom of expression and the free flow of information – these are essential for all societies today. The future of the book as a cultural object is inseparable from the role of culture in promoting more inclusive and sustainable pathways to development. Through its Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, UNESCO is seeking to promote reading among young people and marginalised groups. We are working with the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers’ Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to support careers in publishing, bookshops, libraries and schools.
This is the spirit guiding Incheon, Republic of Korea, which has been designated World Book Capital 2015, in recognition of its programme to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population. This designation takes effect on World Book and Copyright Day and will be celebrated with participants from the previous title-holder, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
With Incheon and the entire international community, let us join together to celebrate books as the embodiment of creativity, the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance. This is UNESCO’s message on World Book and Copyright Day.