UN takes aim at illiteracy on World Book Day

Barbara W. Tuchman once wrote: “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”

April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day and this year, the United Nations has seized the opportunity to shine a spotlight on books and reading. In the wake of recent school attacks and the public burning of books, it’s time to “redouble efforts” to combat illiteracy.

As Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova said:

“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.”

If fostered early enough, the love of reading will last a lifetime.
If fostered early enough, the love of reading will last a lifetime.

Despite our progress, 175 million adolescents around the world still can’t read. “Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment,” Bokova added. As such, UNESCO encourages everyone, especially the youngsters out there, to discover – or rediscover – a love of reading.

So, what did you read on World Book Day?

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figured it all out too late. He got his degree in Psychology and realized years later that he wanted to write for a living. He now has 16+ years of digital and print journalism experience and currently entertains an ongoing love affair with the greatest literary classics (he savored every page of “War and Peace” and thought it could’ve been longer, and he will finish Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”). He also loves crossword puzzles, tennis, the outdoors, and working on numerous novels. One of these days, one will get picked up…and when it does, the world will make a little more sense.