Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Education: World Book and Copyright Day 2014

"Our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building. "
Irina Bokova
April is a month full of good things to celebrate. Not only is April 23 Shakespeare's birthday – his 450th this year – but it's a day when books are the centre of activities in schools and events around the world. 

It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. 

credits : UNESCO

It is a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. 

UNESCO has celebrated this day on 23 April for 19 years now, providing an opportunity to reflect on ways to better disseminate the culture of the written words and to allow all individuals to access it, through literacy programmes, open educational resources, and support for careers in publishing, book shops, libraries and schools. 

World Book Day and Copyright takes place today, as organised by UNESCO, with festivities such as the Catalan Sant Jordi – to mark Saint George's day, in honour of Catalonia's patron saint. 

This "day of the book and the rose" is a Valentine's day of sorts in which streets are packed with stalls, and couples demonstrate their love by exchanging roses and books – giving publishers a massive boost along the way.

On World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO invites all women and men to rally around books and all those who write and produce books. This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance.

However 10% of the world's adults are illiterate. Not to mention the young kids, specially girls who are not going to school.  Without an education, many girls are left with few choices. 

The freedom to read & to receive an education is a human right. Everyone must be able to have access to books.

The day is particularly invested with reaching out to young people around the world and encouraging them to read and write, while fostering an understanding of those who have furthered humankind with contributions through the written word. 
Books are not immune from a world of change, embodied in the advent of digital formats and the transition to open licensing for knowledge-sharing.

"By championing copyright and open access, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge. We work across the board – from the Creative Cities of Literature network to promoting literacy and mobile learning and advancing Open Access to scientific knowledge and educational resources. For instance, in partnership with Nokia and Worldreader, UNESCO is striving to harness mobile technology to support literacy. To this end, on 23 April, we will release a new publication: Reading in the Mobile Era.


Reading a book is in our days a large concept. All formats are available for those who love to read.

A range of activities to promote reading and the cultural aspects of books are held in schools all over the world. 
Many of these emphasize international cooperation or friendships between schools.
I wrote so many times on my blog about the importance of reading in school! Last time on April 21 : Charlotte Brontë

But there are a great list of resources and activities on this blog along the years. You will find different ideas or some funny activities. 
You can also organize different events in your school: relay readings of books and plays; the distribution of bookmarks; the announcement of the winners of school literary competitions; 

If your students are kids, don't forget some actions to promote the understanding of laws on copyright and the protection of authors' intellectual property if your students are younger.

Finally, Register your celebration for World Book and Copyright Day 2014 and share your plans with the world! 

Also today, the title of "World Book Capital" will move from the hands of Bangkok to the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt.

Port Harcourt in Nigeria has been named as the 2014 World Book Capital, on account of the quality of its programme, in particular its focus on youth and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates. 

A final quote:

"The history of the written word is the history of humanity."


The power of books to advance individual fulfilment and to create social change is unequalled. Intimate and yet deeply social, books provide far-reaching forms of dialogue between individuals, within communities and across time.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 

 Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood


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