Thu, 27 Feb 2020
MUMS, dads, grans and granddads still have on their shelves books they have had for many years. Not all of them have the glossy covers and creamy pages many books have today. Those which were available during the Second World War, for instance, are much more utilitarian, but to the child who was given them it didn’t matter, for it was the story which counted then and it is the stories which lie between the covers which still count today.
For many children, World Book Day, celebrated next Thursday (March 5), is jolly good because they receive a book token. Confirmed bookworms will be delighted and no doubt already have books piled high on their shelves, but for children who have few or no books, it is a very special day. Fifteen million tokens will be distributed to children in the UK and Ireland this year, funded by publishers and booksellers with the aim of reversing the trend that shows the number of children reading books is on the decline. How sad is that? And wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could say on World Book Day 2021 that things have changed and more children have discovered the joy of reading?
It was on April 23, 1995, that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) created World Book Day, though a connection between celebrating books and the anniversaries of the death of William Shakespeare and Spanish chronicler Inca Garcelaso de la Vega had been made in Spain as long ago as 1923.
There will be many different ways of celebrating and there are a multitude of websites with ideas. Have a look at www.worldbookday.com – not only does it have suggestions for dressing up as book characters ranging from Peppa Pig to the Wimpy Kid and lots more, but there are competitions, games and a host of information. However, there’s a serious purpose behind the fun and the very best way to celebrate next week – and throughout the year ahead – would be to do some reading.
Albert Einstein may be regarded as a rather austere genius, nevertheless it was he who said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.”
And once you’ve done that, they will be set up for a life in which making time for reading plays an essential and wonderful part.