UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day and World Book Night on April 23 will be celebrated in Iowa City with several events and other activities.
On World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO invites everyone to rally around books and all those who write and produce books. This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance.
The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia where on 23 April, Saint George’s Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.
In Iowa City, the day begins at 10 a.m. at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center with a program designed to promote reading to children. Experts will speak with those in attendance about the benefits of reading to children in their early learning years, while readers will read books to children. The event will close with a bi-lingual family literacy activity.
Those in attendance can tour the center and enjoy snacks at the close of the event.
This year World Book Day is also the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birthday. To celebrate, the City of Literature is teaming up with Professor Alan MacVey’s graduate acting class to stage flash Shakespeare performances in various locations throughout downtown Iowa City starting at 3:30 p.m.
Local flower shop Every Bloomin’ Thing is sponsoring the event by providing roses that will be handed out after each performance.
Several Iowa City book stores are also offering special treats and giveaways to celebrate the day.
In another partnership with the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, special sessions will be held during the After School Program at Mark Twain elementary starting at 4 p.m. Several stations will be set up throughout the school that focus on various aspects of reading and literacy.
These will include sessions with LaDonna Wicklund of I Can Read, volunteers with the Iowa Youth Writing Project, a presentation about the Antelope Lending Library, a Little Free Library build, visits from children’s librarians and more.
The day closes with World Book Night. More than 30 givers have signed up in Johnson County to distribute free books to light or non-readers in the area. This national project will involve tens of thousands of people going out into their communities to distribute half a million free World Book Night paperbacks. In Iowa City, givers plan to pass out books at the Shelter House, on the downtown Pedestrian Mall and elsewhere.