The biggest annual celebration of books and reading is coming soon - 4th March will see the 15th World Book Day event in England and Ireland, but the origins can actually be found in Spain!
On 23rd April 1616 one of Spain's most famous authors, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, died. Better known simply as Cevantes, he wrote Don Quixote. On that same day in England, William Shakespeare, our most celebrated author also died.
But it's not just because of these two authors we celebrate 23rd April - it is also St George's Day which is very significant because in Spain on 23rd April it is customary for men to give roses to their lovers. Since 1925 it has become the custom for the women to give their men in return, a book. Many booksellers today still carry on the tradition is Spain, you'll often get a rose in your new book if bought on this day.
It is for these reasons that UNESCO deemed this date most appropriate to celebrate books in all their glory. Children especially are encouraged to take a book and read it! Children all over the world will do so each year!
In the UK the date was revised in order for World Book day to fall in March when children are mid term at school rather than on school holidays.
Nowadays it's an important part of the calendar and schools and children celebrate it all over the country. Some will wear costumes to school dressed as their favourite characters, others will dress in their pyjamas to stress the importance of the bedtime story. Whatever you do, just don't forget to do something with a book on 4th March - and make it fun!
World Book Day 2010 falls on Thusday, 4th March (in the UK) and events all over the country are already underway to embrace and celebrate reading, why not attend an event in your area? The World Book Day website has a list of events largely focused on public libraries. If your children don't already borrow books from your library, then this offers the perfect opportunity to join up and introduce your children to the wonders of books!
World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading. In the UK events are organised by a charity with financial backing from National Book Tokens, publishers and booksellers. The aim is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of reading and encourage book ownership. World Book Day is celebrated in over 100 countries, although most countries celebrate it on St. George's Day (April 23rd).
Even if there aren't any events local to you, you can always organsie your own World Book Day event in your own home! Why not dress your children as characters from their favourite books and have a special reading in the afternoon where you read their favourite books to them? Visit the shops and let them choose a new book to buy, or arrange with friends to lend your favourite stories to each other so that you can share the delights of your own library!
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