Well today it’s World Book Day in the UK, but I didn’t realise that it’s held on different days in other countries. So I’ve put a few facts together that may interest you. Let me know what you think about what I’ve found out.
April twenty-third (the festival is on the nearest Sunday) is a symbolic day in world literature. Declared as International Day of the Book by UNESCO in 1995, this celebration of books and literature draws its inspiration from a Catalan tradition, the Festival of the Rose.
Legend has it that Saint George, Patron Saint of Catalonia and international knight-errant, slew a dragon about to devour a beautiful Catalan princess. From the dragon’s blood sprouted a rosebush, from which the hero plucked the prettiest rose for the princess. Hence the traditional Rose Festival celebrated in Barcelona since the Middle Ages to honour chivalry and love. In 1923, this lover’s “festa” became even more poetic when it merged with “el dia del llibre”, or The Day of the Book, to mark the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare, the two giants of literary history, on April 23, 1616.
On this day in Barcelona, bookstalls and street festivities run the length of the picturesque La Rambla, the old city’s main boulevard and, according to the Spanish author Garcia Lorca, “the only street in the world which I wish would never end”.
The Pauli Bellet Foundation Catalan Library, the Town of Kensington, and all our sponsors, invite you to celebrate this wonderful day on Howard Ave, our “La Rambla”.
World Book Date Dates
- UK World Book day Thursday 5 March 2020
- UN World Book day Thursday 23 April 2020
- USA World Book day Thursday 23 April 2020
- International Children’s Book day held on the Birthday of Hans Christian Anderson 2 April
UK & Ireland
The UK & Ireland changed their day from 23 April to 5 March, so it wouldn’t clash with Easter or St George’s Day. So to celebrate our World Book day all children of school age and who are still in full time education are given a voucher to spend on books. It is also a charity event in March, held annually on the first Thursday and coinciding with the release of special edition. The annual celebration on 23 April is World Book Night, an event organised by independent charity The Reading Agency.
In Catalonia, Spain, St. George’s Day (Diada de Sant Jordi), the Saint Patron of this historical region, has been commemorated since 1436, and involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people. St George’s Day in Catalonia is celebrated with giving loved people Books and Roses, and is an opportunity for Catalans to honour their patron saint and show their love of culture.
In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen (“World Book Day”) and the copyright aspect is seldom mentioned. Normally celebrated on 23 April, it was moved to 13 April in the year 2000 and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter.
The original idea was of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, first on 7 October, his birth date, then on 23 April, his death date. In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.
(In a historical coincidence, Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date — 23 April 1616 — but not on the same day, as at the time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes died, on 3 May of the Gregorian calendar).
Websites of Interest
Book Lists for Children from the Very Young to Teenagers
The only picture books on this list that were around when I was younger are:
Well yet again not many of these books were available for me when I was aged between 5 & 8 how every there are a few books on the list that I have read:
- Paddington Bear by Michale Bond
- Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne
- Charlotte’s Web by E B White
- I did read son Roald Dahl but they haven’t made it on to the top 25. I read James and the Giant Peach & Georges Marvellous Medicine
Well I have to say that I haven’t read any of these not when I was 9 to 12 and now as an adult I only know 3 of the books. Can you guess which books they are?
Answer at the bottom of the page.
Again most of these book weren’t available when I was a teenager, but I’m glad to say that I have read a couple of them and a couple more are on my classic TBR.
- Northern Light by Phillip Pullman
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The books that are on my TBR are:
- To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
- The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
To get more book lists like these then please go to WorldBookDay.com as they have lost of interesting items on their website such as: Resources, News & Event, Young Adult, Inspiration, Play & Win and Videos. Even as an adult I’ve found it a very interesting website.
So what are you doing to celebrate it?
Answers: Matilda by Roald Dhal, The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis, Stig of the Dump by Clive King.
All the Children’s Reading Lists are with thanks to WorldBookDay.com and their sponsors