In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, and the birth of Maurice Druon, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.
Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 22 April and was buried on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. Whilst Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, he actually died eleven days after Cervantes because of the discrepancy between the two date systems. The apparent correspondence of the two dates was a fortunate coincidence for UNESCO.
Here in the UK we celebrate World Book Day on the first Thursday in March as this does not clash with Easter Holidays and schools can then celebrate World Book Day.
The United Kingdom’s own version of World Book Day began in 1998, launched by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Globe Theatre in London. Several million schoolchildren in Great Britain were given a GB£1 special World Book Day Book Token (€1.50 in Ireland) which could be redeemed against any book in any UK bookshop. A specially created WBD anthology priced at £1 (€1.50 in Ireland) was also published. All World Book Day point of sale and the £1 book carried the special World Book Day logo to help unify the initiative through all outlets.
Since then, World Book Day UK has followed a similar pattern, gradually growing each year to encompass more initiatives, such as Spread The Word, Quick Reads Initiative and Books for Hospitals. Every year, the number of children receiving a World Book Day Book Token has increased.
In 2000, instead of a single £1 special anthology, four separate £1 books were published, covering a wider age-range. Since then, each year has seen a new set of special £1 books published.
In 2006, World Book Day began its support of and association with the Quick Reads initiative for adult emergent readers.
In 2007, World Book Day celebrated its 10th anniversary with the publication of 10 £1 books. Since then every child in full-time education in the UK and Ireland is entitled to receive a £1 World Book day Book token every year. They can swap their WBD token for one of specially-produced £1 WBD books or they can get £1 off a full-price book or audio book priced £2.99 or more.
In September 2007, World Book Day announced the revamp of the Spread the Word promotion for 2008 into an on-line book group featuring a number of adult books which would be suitable to book Groups. A short list of 10 titles was announced on 1 February 2008, and the winning book, Boy A by Jonathan Trigell (published by Serpent’s Tail) was revealed on World Book Day 2008, 6 March 2008. World Book Day 2008 was declared by The Bookseller magazine to be more successful than any previous World Book Day. :Wikipedia
I myself do enjoy reading and like to encourage my children to read also. My eldest would much prefer to be read to, but my middle son is really beginning to get to grips with reading and is getting a lot more pleasure from a book, both fiction and non fiction. World Book Day does create a lot of excitement for us and dressing as our favorite book charater certainly stretches our imagination and creativity!