Read Why April 23 Is World Book Day

Reading is a stellar form of entertainment and it requires that you use your imagination rather than simply watching visuals on a screen. There is also something so therapeutic about the actual feel of a book, with its scent of printed pages and glossy covers. Books are a valuable aspect of society but this wasn’t always the case. 

When vocabulary and writing were developed thousands of years ago, clay tablets were used. This evolved into parchment and papyrus. The first form of a book was achieved by the Chinese in the 3rd century, although their books consisted of thick pages, made out of bamboo, that were stitched together. By the mid-15th century, the printing press revolutionized books to become what they are today and made them readily accessible for everyone. Thanks to this ingenious invention we are able to enjoy the prose and poetry of countless authors and poets — from Shakespeare and Tolstoy to George R.R. Martin.

World Book Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on April 23, 1995. This date is chosen because it is the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and prominent Spanish chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Prior to this, there were several ideas on when World Book Day should be celebrated. Originally, Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés suggested that the day should be on a day that honored the author Miguel de Cervantes. This meant that it could either be on his birthday, on October 7, or the day he died, on April 23. Because the day he died coincided with the date on which William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega had also died, this date was chosen. Surprisingly, there are several other famous authors who have also died on April 23, like William Wordsworth and David Halberstam.  

Around the world, there are many other dates on which World Book Day takes place. The UK, Sweden, and Ireland all celebrate World Book Day on different dates.

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