Like the international booktown movement, World Book Day is little known in Australia but has been designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading and was marked in 30 countries around the globe last year. For example, in the UK and Ireland every schoolchild receives a World Book Day Token. Officially, World Book Day falls on 23rd April (see UNESCO link below) but some countries have opted to celebrate it in March due to the frequent clash with Easter or school holidays.
Australia has had Book Week, organised by the Childrens Book Council since 1945, and this predated the UNESCO declaration of World Book and Copyright Day. World Book Day has not traditionally been celebrated in Australia. This lack of observance is most probably due to the enthusastic focus on Book Week later in the year and also because of the proximity to ANZAC Day (April 25), Australia’s most solemn day of the year as it remembers its war dead and arguably our country’s de facto National Day.
One aim of BookTown Australia is to give World Book Day a context to be celebrated in Australia and link it to the international community of booktowns. Using World Book Day as the commencement of the One Town – One Book community reading programs is seen as viable means of doing so, especially as the reading program can then culminate in August to coincide with Children’s Book Week. On World Book Day (April 23) in Australia in years to come, any community – village, town suburb or city – can be a “booktown” on that day, simply by declaring its participation in the reading program with the announcement of their chosen book.
UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day April 23
Children’s Book Week – Australia
BBC World Book Day
The UK World Book Day