Sunday, April 23, 2017

Schools : World Book & Copyright Day : Blind & visually impaired

World Book & Copyright Day 2017

"World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens."

Irina Bokova, Former Director-General of UNESCO

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.

It was 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. 

Blind and the visually impaired children & people
credits: Unesco

This year the focus will be on the blind and the visually impaired for whom "there is difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, which constitutes an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society. "

To the World Blind Union (WBU), among the millions of books published worldwide each year, less than 10% are published in formats that are accessible to the blind. A rate that drops to 1% in developing countries.

It is said that how a society treats its most vulnerable is a measure of its humanity. When we apply this measure to the availability of books to those with visual impairments and those with learning or physical disabilities (with different causes), we are confronted with what can only be described as a ‘book famine’.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs.

But let me introduce once more the legend of St George or St Jordi (Catalan language).

St. George's Day 2017
doodler: guest guest artist Marina Muun

World Book Day and Copyright takes place today, 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.

Sant Jordi & the rose
cartoon : unknown

  • Legend:

Legend has it that he rode to the town of Silene in Libya on a white horse, saved a princess from her untimely end, and slayed a dragon in one fell swoop. Today, that Roman soldier is remembered on St. George’s Day.

St George's Day in England remembers St George, England's patron saint. The anniversary of his death, which is on April 23, is seen as England's national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.

Google Doodle captures the magic of St. George as he courageously crusades against the mighty dragon, surrounded by boughs of beautiful roses. 



"Poorly designed or inaccessible books also limit reading and comprehension of those who have learning disabilities. 

According to the International Dyslexia Association, 3-5 percent of the school population requires special accommodations and support.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Sustainable Development Goals mark a paradigm shift in recognizing the right of disabled people to access books, knowledge and cultural life on an equal basis as others.

credits: Unesco

Literacy for all is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, without forgetting Braille language, 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 and adaptive and affordable ICTs to support literacy and to reach the unreached with quality learning.

Illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo
via Slate/ Technology

However today is also the World Copyright Day, something important teachers must educate students to respect. Here's a video that we help you to talk about copyright in the classroom.


And some interesting suggestions: booksapps, animated films and games that involve students to learn the way they like, using the new educational digital resources.

credits: UNESCO


You will find different ideas and some funny activities to motivate your students to read and to love books on my blog.
You can also organize different events at your school: relay readings of books and plays; the distribution of bookmarks; the announcement of the winners of school literary competitions. Here some suggestions:

  • Take this time to discover some new book from what you're used to read and share it with your students;
  • Share your passion for an author and offer his book to the best reader among your students;
  • Write a note in a book saying “Happy Book Day!” drag one bookmark in it, and leave it on a park bench or a metro seat;
  • Ask your students to give a book that they are no longer using to poor school libraries;
  • Ask your students to read some lovely book to blind and the visually impaired classmate or a aged person in the family;
  • Print out some Unesco campaign materials and organize a book fair at your school library. Students love this activity. And book stores will be glad to be invited;
  • Plan local reading events in your school and visit the national library in your city or go to a bookstore with students;
  • Encourage a famous guest writer to get involved in a workshop on creativity and writing with students. Students love to talk and share their thoughts with writers they have read.
  • Finally, Register your celebration for World Book and Copyright Day 2017 and share your plans with the other students that might be interested in participating.

By the way let me know what book are you reading now. Me? Well, I am reading Umberto Eco's The Book of Legendary Lands

The Book of Legendary Lands

Umberto Eco

A fascinating illustrated tour of the fabled places in literature and folklore that have awed, troubled, and eluded us through the ages. 


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