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Most everyone agrees that reading is vital for a child’s growth! But with all the challenges and difficulties of adulthood, many people in the prime of their lives hardly have any spare time to read. The factors present in why people don’t read can range from a lack of time to poverty to mental health concerns.

But reading is definitely important to read because of how much relief it provides  from the difficulty and stress of the everyday world. Reading inspires people and educates people about the world around them, and can also function as an escape that relieves stress. 

However, not everyone can see the benefits that reading can provide. 

World Book Night aims to change the way adults view reading by encouraging them to take the time to read during the night–and to give away free books! 

History of World Book Night

World Book Day has been around for some time now, offering extra opportunities and encouragement for children to read more books. However, because World Book Day existed for children, some people were motivated to put World Book Night together as a time for adults to read more books.

World Book Night began back in 2011 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, when Jamie Byng, MD of Canongate, conceived of the idea. It came to be after he had discussed it the previous year with various people who were present at the Book Industry Conference. The idea created another way for adults to take time out to read more and the day became a rousing success in its first decade. 

In 2012, the day moved from March (which is still associated with children’s World Book Day) to April to coincide with UNESCO’s International Day of the Book. Then, in 2012 and 2013, the holiday grew and began to be celebrated in the United States. Over 50,000 people gave books to others on this day! 

In late 2013, World Book Night benefited by becoming part of the Reading Agency, which is an organization focused on helping and encouraging others to read more books. Each year, books are given to people in hospitals, prisons, libraries, colleges, homeless shelters, and their communities through the Reading Agency and World Book Night. 

The giveaway for these books has helped bookstores sell more books and continue their businesses. Volunteers go around their local communities and give away books, encouraging others to read and grow in their knowledge of the world. 

All together, World Book Night is responsible for a whole host of people giving and getting books–and hopefully reading them as well! 

How to Celebrate World Book Night

Celebrating World Book Night can be a fun and adventurous activity. Whether alone or joined together with a band of avid readers (or wannabe readers!), enjoy World Book NIght in these creative ways: 

Volunteer and Participate in a World Book Night Event 

Volunteer at a local reading library or bookstore to see about celebrating World Book Night and help give away some free books. Check in to see if the local community is hosting any events related to World Book Night. If there aren’t any, don’t be afraid to start one.  

The World Book Night website offers access to resources for those who want to host their own book night events, including social media resources, print logos and guidelines.

Give Away Books for Free

Give books to those in a hospital, a care center, a homeless shelter, or a child daycare center. Check with a local bookstore to see if they’ll help arrange to give away some books to a good cause. To make it more affordable, books can be ordered in bulk online, purchased at a used bookstore, or even collected from thrift stores or garage sales. Reading used books is a great way to enjoy the written word and contribute to helping protect the planet. 

Sit Down and READ 

Of course, the entire sentiment of the day will be lost if people are only involved in World Book Day activities but don’t ever actually take the time to sit down and read a book! So be sure to also take the time to read a book late into the night and relax.

Technically, the ‘reading hour’ on World Book Night is considered to be from 7-8pm. The great thing about this is that, if people all over the world are reading during this time in their own time zones, then the ‘reading hour’ will last for a very long time as it moves around the planet! 

For those who aren’t sure what to read, World Book Night offers a reading list each year that can help make recommendations or give ideas for what to read next.

Share Reading with Family and Friends 

Reading doesn’t have to be a lonely activity! Try out these ideas for sharing this day with friends and family: 

  • Recommend a favorite book to others and share the love of reading with everyone. 
  • Ask friends, family or coworkers what their favorite books are and then discuss them. 
  • Start a personal library of favorite collections of books and share those books with others to encourage more reading. 
  • Join in on a book club or reading group–or start one if there isn’t one that already exists. 
  • Host a quiz night with friends that centers around a literary theme. 

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