19.04.2022 / Knud Wassermann

World Book Day 2022

On April 23, the "World Book Day" is celebrated around the globe. A wide range of activities will be launched to encourage children to read.

It's not easy to get children interested in reading books these days. As the father of a 14-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son, I can only confirm that. Digital gadgets are omnipresent, but banning them would be rather counterproductive. However, the content is designed to make it difficult for more than just children to tear themselves away from it. The time spent on a channel is one of the central currencies in the digital world.

In this respect, as so often in life, it's all about the dosage. And that's why you have to make sure that books are available. In my daughter's case, it took a while for the fascination with reading to jump over to her. But now it's there, and she reads books with great pleasure. And she recognizes from the texts she writes for school that her way of expressing herself has improved and her choice of words is now more varied.

This is just one of many aspects of why it is so important that such initiatives as "World Book Day" exist. In the past two (pandemic-)years, it has once again been shown that books broaden horizons and at the same time stimulate the mind and creativity. In addition, we have seen that books can be used to escape from everyday life. Which is also reflected in the international sales figures for books – as you can read in this blog on the Muller Martini website.

The Bookface Challenge
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO has launched a Bookface Challenge for World Book Day next Saturday, inviting people to upload and present special book covers. In Germany, too, preparations for World Book Day are in full swing. Bookstores, publishers and schools are preparing for the day together with many partners to instill a love of reading in children.

This year, around one million children in 4th and 5th grades as well as from special education, welcome and transition classes will receive the comic novel "Iva, Samo und der geheime Hexensee" («Iva, Samo and the Secret Witch Lake»), written and drawn by Bettina Obrecht and Timo Grubing especially for World Book Day 2022, as a gift from one of around 3,300 participating bookstores. From April 22 to May 31, children can pick up their personal copy at a previously selected bookstore. To date, more than 15 million children in Germany alone have received books.

On April 27 at 11 a.m., cbj Verlag from the Penguin Random House publishing group will offer a livestream all about the graphic novel. Bettina Obrecht and Timo Grubing will be guests and will read aloud, draw live and answer the questions of the moderator Günter Keil and the virtually participating school classes. The livestream will be broadcast on the Facebook accounts of cbj Verlag and on litlounge.tv, among others.

Reading journey for children and young people
This year, 54 authors of books for children and young people are once again packing their bags and going on a reading tour to read from their books throughout Germany. Dates for the 74 readings in bookstores can be found on the Börsenverein website. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft von Jugendbuchverlagen e. V. (avj) and the Börsenverein are organizing the campaign for the 15th time.

Books from the letter carrier
Another campaign is that numerous Deutsche Post delivery staff surprise customers with a gift of books. The aim is to bring the joy of reading into households and to encourage people to participate in World Book Day. If my daughter has her way, the campaign could last all year – a year's subscription to books "free of charge".

Finally, a side note: My son still hasn't turned into a bookworm. But after his last visit to the theater with the school, he said that he definitely liked Bertolt Brecht's "Threepenny Opera". So, hope dies last!

Knud Wassermann
Editor-in-Chief "Graphische Revue”
19.04.2022 Knud Wassermann Editor-in-Chief of Graphische Revue