World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on April 23rd, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright. In the United Kingdom, the day is recognized on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.
In Kensington, Maryland the International Day of the Book is celebrated with a street festival on the Sunday closest to April 26.
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 Mejia Vallejo.
World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.
As global symbols of social progress, books – learning and reading - have become targets for those who denigrate culture and education, who reject dialogue and tolerance. In recent months, we have seen attacks on children at school and the public burning of books. In this context, our duty is clear – we must redouble efforts to promote the book, the pen, the computer, along with all forms of reading and writing, in order to fight illiteracy and poverty, to build sustainable societies, to strengthen the foundations of peace.