We here at National Today love books, and our friends at UNESCO agree. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proposed World Book Day as a day of celebrating the joy of reading for enjoyment. One hundred countries around the world observe World Book Day, and why not? Children that regularly read for enjoyment have higher test scores, develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures than their non-reading counterparts. Whether you read traditional paperbound books or turn to your Kindle, reading really is a passport to this and many other worlds. So celebrate with us on April 23! Get your geek on and wear it proudly this World Book Day. Here’s how to celebrate your inner bookworm.
World Book Day Activities
Dress as your favorite fictional character
You can go subtle and wear clothes you’d find in a Steinbeck novel or Stephen King book — and only you will know whom you are dressed like. Or you can go outlandish, wearing robes that invoke the spirit of Tolkien or dresses that are Jane Austen-inspired. Be creative and bring your favorite book to life. Bonus points if you can encourage a group of friends or co-workers to join you!
Buy a book
Let’s support our booksellers, writers, and illustrators by buying a book. You can opt for one by your favorite author, a new book in the genre you love most, or engage fellow book lovers in a conversation about what they would recommend. Bookworms are typically not shy when it comes to discussing literature. Alternatively, visit your local library and take out as many books as your arms can hold. One thing is for sure, there are never too many books.
Host a dinner based on your favorite book or series
The only thing better than reading a fantastic book is talking about it with other people who love it as much as you do. Celebrate World Book Day by hosting a dinner based on your favorite book or series. It doesn’t have to be just adults either. Imagine your child’s excitement at having a dinner based on their favorite storybook. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle has tons of healthy (and some not so healthy) food in it that would make a great dinner. Or, if you’d prefer, go upscale and create a menu based on a foodie book of fiction like "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café" by Fannie Flagg or Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club." The possibilities are endless!
Why We Love World Book Day
It gives you the chance to declare your bookworm status
Whether you call yourself a bookworm or a bibliophile, the end result is the same: you love books! And you're not alone. Nearly 700 million printed books were sold in the U.S. in 2018 — the most since 2010. So let your bookworm take a bite of the apple on World Book Day and acknowledge what you already know; you’d rather be reading than doing just about anything else.
You may be able to get some free books
Depending on where you live, World Book Day may afford you the opportunity to score some free books. As any self-respecting bibliophile knows, the only thing better than books, bookstores, or libraries are FREE books to call your own. In Spain, it is customary for people to give them as presents on World Book Day. In the United Kingdom, children are given tokens which they can take to a local bookseller to choose from a selection of free books or put towards the price of a book they desire. Sweden observes World Book Day with writing competitions across schools and colleges. Many companies will offer free eBooks to download to your device, so be sure to check out the offers and score as many as you can.
It celebrates the benefits of reading
It turns out reading isn’t just good for children. Aside from the pure pleasure of losing oneself in a good story, reading has some surprising health benefits. Studies show reading for pleasure can reduce cortisol levels, better known to most of us as stress. It also improves memory and brain function. Fiction helps readers step into another person’s shoes and makes us more empathetic. Reading also increases attention span and can help you live longer.