April 23rd

World Book Day -

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World Book Day, celebrated annually on the 23rd of April, is an initiative started by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the main aim of fostering a global love for reading, bolstering the publishing industry, and championing the cause of copyright protection.

This day throws the spotlight on books and their authors, inspiring people of all ages to connect with the pleasure of reading. It is a day especially dedicated to bringing to the fore the vital role that literature plays in shaping our personal and cultural identity, expanding our understanding of the world, and sparking our imaginative capacities.

History of World Book Day

World Book Day, recognized in over a hundred countries globally, is a celebration dedicated to cherishing authors, books, and illustrators. Its origins can be traced back to 1922, when Vicente Clavel, as the director of the Barcelona based Cervantes publishing house, proposed a day that would honor famed author Miguel de Cervantes.

The celebration was then recognized for the first time on October 7th, 1926, to coincide with Cervantes' birth date. By 1930, however, the event had been shifted to April 23rd, which is the death anniversary of the acclaimed author.

From this evolved the idea of celebrating books and authors on a global platform. During the General Conference of UNESCO in 1995, it was formally decided to dedicate this date to commemorate authors and books, while also recognizing the significance of copyright. Consequently, they settled on April 23rd as the World Book and Copyright Day.

The chosen date holds added significance, as it marks the death anniversaries of Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Both Shakespeare and Cervantes share the same death date of April 23rd, 1616, but they did not depart on the same day in reality as Spain and England followed different calendars at the time.

The UK and Ireland, however, break away from tradition and celebrate World Book Day on the first Thursday of March, steering clear from the school holidays around Easter and St. George's Day. A charity, going by the same name, manages the event in these regions. They distribute tokens for books and arrange an array of events such as meetings with authors and storytelling sessions in libraries and schools.

While its primary objective is to help children and young people discover the joy of reading, World Book Day sees celebratory events involving people of all age groups, across the globe. From readings by authors to book discussions and storytelling sessions, these events not only make reading an exciting activity but also ensure it is accessible to all.

World Book Day Timeline

Creation of Papyrus Scrolls

Papyrus scrolls were the first form of an editable record. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans wrote on papyrus scrolls.

Invention of Paper

The invention of paper in China largely replaced bamboo and silk supports for writings.

Woodblock Printing

Chinese invent woodblock printing, enabling the creation of multiple copies of texts and images.

Invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with movable type, revolutionizing book production.

Publication of First Modern Novel

Publication of 'Don Quixote', often called the first modern novel, by Miguel de Cervantes.

Introduction of Paperback Books

Paperback books first introduced, making books more affordable and accessible to the masses.

Start of World Book Day

UNESCO officially launches World Book Day on April 23, commemorating the death of authors Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Launch of Amazon Kindle

Amazon releases the Kindle, an electronic reading device, revolutionizing the way people read.

Ideas to Celebrate World Book Day

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Book Swap Party

Plan a gathering where everyone brings a book they loved to swap with others. This encourages the joy of sharing favourite reads and promotes recycling.

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Virtual Book Club

Set up an online book club for World Book Day. Choose a book for everyone to read beforehand, then have a digital meeting on the actual day to share thoughts about it.

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Author Q&A Session

Arrange for a local author to hold a chat session. This can be online or at a local venue. Participants can ask questions and learn about the author's journey as a writer and their body of work.

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Book Donation Drive

Organize a drive to collect books for those in need or for less-funded libraries. Urge people to contribute new or lightly used books.

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Literature Quiz

Set up a literature-themed trivia contest. Include questions about well-known authors, books, characters, and literary quotes.

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Create a Human Library

'Borrow' people instead of books in a unique 'human library' event. Individuals share their life stories, providing a different form of learning besides traditional book reading.

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Book to Film Marathon

Set up a movie marathon showcasing films based on popular books. It's a relaxed and entertaining way to celebrate World Book Day.

6 Interesting Facts About World Book Day


A Global Celebration

World Book Day is observed and honoured in over a hundred countries across the globe, marking it as one of the most universally recognised literary days.


Different Dates for Different Nations

Even though World Book Day officially falls on April 23, the United Kingdom and Ireland have chosen to celebrate it on the first Thursday in March to avoid it clashing with St. George's Day and the Easter holidays.


Influence in London

During World Book Day, London typically hosts the annual ceremony for UNESCO's World Book Capital. A city is chosen each year for this honour that has shown dedication to promoting books and reading.


Tradition in Catalonia

World Book Day in Catalonia, Spain, is traditionally celebrated by gifting a rose and a book to loved ones. This custom merges the celebration of St. George's Day, who is the patron saint of Catalonia, with the celebration of World Book Day.


Symbolic Dates

Choosing April 23 for World Book Day carries great significance. Shakespeare and Cervantes both died on this date in 1616; plus, several other noted authors were either born or died on this day.


Focus on Children

World Book Day lays a special emphasis on inspiring children to enjoy reading. Events typically include drama workshops, storytelling, book-themed parades, and author readings incorporated into school activities.

World Book Day FAQs

Next World Book Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 April 23rd Sunday
2024 April 23rd Tuesday
2025 April 23rd Wednesday
2026 April 23rd Thursday
2027 April 23rd Friday
What is the pattern? Every April 23rd

World Book Day Puzzle

  • Literature
  • Pages
  • Chapters
  • Stories
  • Reading
  • Library
  • Characters