Today we celebrate across Germany World Book Day. It is an event where libraries, bookshops, schools, publishers, and book lovers celebrate a huge reading festival – usually. Because this year, due to the Coronavirus everything´s changed. Nothing can go as planned or as we are used to. But not even a dangerous virus can keep us from celebrating today. Although we must do it in a slightly different way than usual – we´re still celebrating this special day.

Good, we can´t gather in large groups but social media is full of great giveaways publishers are doing on their Instagram accounts or other social media accounts and authors´ are reading either live or recorded from their books. Yes, almost every planned event has to be done in a different way than normal, but it is on the other hand great to see how publishers and bookstores changed their long-planned Actions to do whatever possible to have this special day anyway. Our passion and love for the printed book, audiobook, and eBook remain unbroken. We can go back to some sort of normal, get in most regions of the country books gifted and the one or the other special bookmark that will remind us forever that in 2020 we had to endure a lot of differences to make this day possible. 

The UN launched the World Book Day in 1995 and only one year later, in 1996, it was celebrated in Germany, too. The story of this day goes back to a Catalan tradition which started as a small event and became a worldwide thing. On the name day of the popular St. George the Catalan people gifted roses and books to others. Not sure if and how they do it this year, but alone the thought of doing that makes me smile. It is such a lovely gesture and today we need lovely gestures more than ever. It doesn´t have to be a book, though. It can be something else too. But with this special day for all those who work in this industry – and that is an industry because let us not ignore the financial side of the book world – we can hopefully bring a little smile into the faces of those who receive this gift.

And there is another special meaning to the 23rd of April. It is also the day of death of the writers William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. So, in my opinion, the UN has chosen this day very well. Over the years this event has become a day where we celebrate and take a closer look not only at those who write all the wonderful books - no matter what genre - we also look at bit closer to the rights of authors, how publishers work and operate and how we can get others into the reading world and make them book lovers too. Well, sort of. Not every child or grown-up will become (or already is) a huge lover as most book bloggers are or those who work at a publisher or bookshop. But the passion for the printed word, the spoken word (audiobook), or an eBook can be created and shared - more or less.

Ok, in the Corona crisis the usual events had to be rescheduled or must be held in a smaller way as originally planned and it is for sure not easy for all the kids who normally are in school or kindergarten around this time of year. I am sure most of them were looking forward to this event if they knew about it, and now they face a reality that is far from what was planned or what we are used to. This year, the smaller kids are still at home. Only the older ones, all those who have their exams coming up either this year or next year go to school. But not to get into the action with some sort of World Book Day event but with the books, they need for their upcoming exams. And I am not sure how many parents are willing to go with their kids into a bookstore to get a book on World Book Day. But I hope that many of them were willing to order one online at their local bookstore to show them their love and support. Or do it today. The local businesses need our support. Our love and the knowledge that they can not only trust their customers but can also still rely on them. 

We all live, now, in an unprecedented time. Nobody knows for sure how long this will last or how long we must keep our physical distance from others. The impact on all of us is huge. But so, can be the impact of a great story. I now think of the children’s book Mary Poppins. It is one of the first books I´ve called my own. I still can see the moment when I received it from my neighbor’s daughter in a box while out on the street. Back then I lived with my parents in a house we called “our witch house” because it was surrounded by some huge pine trees and its style looked the way I imagined a witch house would look like. I still have it at home, and I am sure that most of you are thinking now of the first book you loved while reading my post. 

So spread the word of a great book you´ve read. Maybe give it as a gift to a person you love or want to express your gratitude, or you just want to acknowledge what they are doing. Either way, it is the gesture that counts, and which hopefully makes us smile a bit more or even because of all the bad that is going on in the world right now.

Stay safe and healthy.

Happy reading 


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