World Book Day, which is celebrated by UNESCO and other organizations, is the worldwide celebration of books & reading material observed in more than 100 countries all around. Also called The World Book and Copyright Day, it is an occasion to promote the joy of reading and books.
The idea to celebrate and observe World Book Day was first conceived by Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andres with a purpose to honor the renowned author, Miguel de Cervantes, followed by his death anniversary, April 23. During the UNESCO General Conference held in Paris in 1995, April 23 was selected by UNESCO to pay homage to renowned books and authors worldwide including William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
This day has become a common platform for people across the globe, especially the stakeholders of the literary world, including publishers, authors, teachers, librarians, humanitarian NGOs, and the mass media to promote literacy & help everyone get access to educational resources.
WHY DO WE LOVE THIS DAY
Many companies offer free eBooks to download on your device, so be sure to check out the offers online. In Spain, it is a custom to gift books on World Book Day. Children in the UK receive tokens, which they can carry to a local bookseller for discounts. Sweden celebrates World Book Day with writing competitions across schools and colleges.
Good for Mental Health
Studies have shown that reading for enjoyment can reduce cortisol levels, better known to most of us as stress. Fiction helps readers step into another person’s world and makes us more empathetic. Reading can also increase attention span and can help you live longer. It also improves memory and brain function. Children who regularly read have higher test scores, increased general knowledge; developed vocabulary, and a better understanding of other cultures than their non-reading counterparts.
World Book Day 2020 Theme
Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, sums up the theme of 2020 through his words; “Books have the unique ability to entertain and also to teach. They are a means and way of exploring realms beyond our personal experience through exposure to different universes, authors, and cultures, and a means of accessing the deepest recesses of our inner selves.”
How to read a book digitally while we practice social distancing by staying home
The reading habit is essential for all age groups. Reading at the end of each day is said to reduce stress and help you sleep better. Although there can be no replacement for the feel of that paperback in your hand or the smell of books (biblichor), as long as one is reading, the mode of reading should hardly be of concern. Some reports have also proved that reading poetry in the morning can reduce stress and elevate mood.
For the present-day reader, there are countless options across genres, and one might even find them spoilt by choice if they are unable to pick one book at a time when a lot of content is available to watch or engage with on social media. On this World Book Day 2020, here are some of the things we can all practice as we all evolve as readers and as people.
Kindle and other reading applications on the internet: The aura of reading from a real book will probably never change/reduce for people; however, other media might just contribute to the full range of ways to learn.
Social media: One can imagine making a difference if they put their minds to it – even if it is a smaller group of people to spread the word with on social media. It could be a self-care page, something about personal growth or pages that are sharing more than just snackable content. Read well-researched articles Watch videos with lessons, and much more. Several websites offer online courses and are using the power of this social media to get the right people interested in their study material. Some applications also let you save the links you can not immediately read but can revisit when you can make time.
Audio books and Podcasts: With several applications and sites going big on this concept, audio books are an exciting way to ‘read’ a book. One might see it as a new-age version of a family elder reading out a bedtime story to you. Podcasts also are a great way to listen to some of your favourite topics being discussed by experts who lend their voice, their experiences, and ideas for better living. Some that might interest you could be about life hacks, time management, and creativity, to name a few.
Paperbacks and hardcover books: Nothing can substitute the feel of a real book in your hand, ever. But when you cannot buy more books, because of space constraints most of the time – find ways of joining a book club or a library in your area. It is easier to get the books issued and return when done.
But as we stay home, let us all make a habit of reading for at least a few minutes during this time of pandemic and learn what we could.