“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles W. Eliot
World Book and Copyright Day
Annually, 23rd April is celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day. It was first observed in April 1995 during UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris. This day is observed with the objective to promote reading and the very source books that forms a link between generations and cultures. 2019 will mark the 24th edition of World Book and Copyright Day and speaking on the occasion, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO says, “Books are also a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience. A book is thus written, produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting. This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment of the international community in supporting indigenous peoples to preserve their cultures, knowledge and rights.”
23rd April is considered as a symbolic day in the world of literature. In 1616, on this very day the world lost literature gems such as William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. It is also the day that marks birth or death of several other literature geniuses such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. Thus, 23rd April came by as a natural choice to pay tribute to the works of these noted authors and encourage people to read.
World Book Capital 2019
By celebrating World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO supports creativity, diversity, and access to books for all with the endeavour to promote cross-cultural acceptance and openness and enhanced knowledge-sharing. Every year, UNESCO in association with international organisations representing three major sectors of the book industry i.e. publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year. The chosen Capital through its own initiatives boosts and drives the objective the Day’s celebrations. The city of Sharjah in United Arab Emirates has been chosen as the World Book Capital for 2019. With the slogan “Read – you are in Sharjah”, this year’s celebration will focus on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.
Support reading among children
You can ensure access to books and encourage reading among children by supporting The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a children NGO in India. The Foundation supports education of children by providing them with nutritious school lunch under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Presently, Akshaya Patra provides regular school meals to more than 1.76 million children across 12 Indian states. On World Book Day, Manisha Devipujak, one of the beneficiaries of the Foundation shares her love for books:
“Hello. I am Manisha Devipujak. I am 12 years old and a Standard VII student in Shri Ravishankar Maharaj Prathmik Shala – 166, Gujarat. I love my school very much because it has a room filled with books called the ‘Library’. The books here take me to a fascinating world of knowledge where I get to know many new things. From scientific mysteries, morals and values, life lessons from the inspiring stories of noteworthy personalities to finest puzzles/crosswords – life is better with books! In fact, I want to read all the books in the library.”
Manisha, has three sisters and one younger brother. After the demise of her parents, she and her siblings have been under the guardianship of their grandparents. Manisha wants to grow up to be a teacher for which health and education are two important factors. And, not to forget there are millions of children like Manisha who awaits support.
This World Book and Copyright Day, support Akshaya Patra and promote child education in India by providing nutrition-rich school meals. Your support will create generations of healthy and literate citizens who will carry forward the celebrations and tradition of this day because only an educated person is empowered to cherish books!