• This April 23, World Book Day is being celebrated by millions of people and over 100 countries in lockdown.
  • With schools closed due to COVID-19 and families confined at home, books stimulate our minds and boost well-being.

With schools closed due to COVID-19 and families stuck at home, books are more important than ever to stimulate minds and inspire hope. In fact, some research has found reading has surged in many households since lockdown restrictions have been put in place.

Today's World Book Day celebration - the first to occur with billions of people under lockdown - recognizes the key role books play in our lives.

What is World Book Day?

Launched in 1995 by UNESCO, World Book Day celebrates the joys of reading, and the authors who have shaped our world.

Every year for the past two decades, UNESCO selects a new city to be the World Book Capital. The selection for 2020 is Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, in recognition of the city’s major strides to improve access to education and reading facilities.

How is UNESCO participating?

UNESCO is doing its part by sharing daily poems and stories, including pages from My Hero is You, a new children's book about COVID-19.

Aimed at 6- to 11-year-olds, the picture book features the fantasy creature Ario, who explains how we can protect ourselves from coronavirus and manage any feelings of uncertainty and confusion.

Co-produced by more than 50 humanitarian organizations, the book is available to read and download for free in more than 20 languages.

Sara and Ario fly across the world to inform kids about the coronavirus.
Image: IASC

Looking for more to read?

During the month of April, the World Economic Forum's Book Club is reading Isabelle Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea. Set during the Spanish Civil war of 1936, the book explores themes of displacement and isolation.

Full of themes and insights that ring true today, Allende's book reminds us of the importance of human relationships during extraordinary times. Read an extract from her book here.

What is the World Economic Forum's Book Club?

The World Economic Forum launched its official Book Club on Facebook in April 2018. Readers worldwide are invited to join and discuss a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. It is a private Facebook group dedicated to discussing one book every month.

Each month, we announce a new book on our social media channels. We then publish an extract and begin a chapter-by-chapter discussion with group members. Selected comments and questions are sent to the author, who in return sends us a video response.

Unlike other book clubs, the group features the direct involvement of the authors, giving you - our global audience with members all around the globe - a chance to directly connect with some of the most influential thinkers and experts in the world.

We have featured authors such as Steven Pinker, Elif Shafak, Yuval Noah Harari, and Melinda Gates.

You can join the Book Club here.

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