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April 2023 - World Book Day

Updated: May 30, 2023

April is often associated with April Fools Day, but you might be fooled into thinking this is the only day of celebration and awareness! In fact, many significant days in April are easy to overlook, such as World Autism Acceptance Day (on the 2nd of April), World Health Day (on the 7th of April) and the topic of discussion for this month - World Book Day; an occasion that is celebrated by children and adults alike as a time to read (or listen to) a book.


This year, World Book Day falls on the 23rd of April and gives us a chance to celebrate the importance of literature in our daily lives. From classic novels to contemporary memoirs, from children's picture books to academic tomes, books have the ability to transport us to new worlds, introduce us to new ideas and perspectives that may challenge our views and help us understand ourselves and the stories of others on a deeper level.



In the words of Joseph Addison:

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

Missing Pages - The Controversial War On Words

The banning of books is often seen as a form of oppression because it involves restricting access to certain ideas, perspectives, and knowledge. When a book is banned, it means that the government, an institution, or a group of people has deemed the content of the book as inappropriate, offensive, or dangerous, and has made a decision to prevent others from reading it.


Ranging from books aimed at children that are accused of being "a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children" that have the potential to cause confusion, curiosity and conflicts to religious viewpoints being removed from book fairs to more adult books that are banned due to racial and graphical themes, here are some examples of books that have been banned at various times and places, the issues that led to their censorship and the reasons why supporters disagreed with the bans:

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

1984 - George Orwell

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D Salinger

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

And Tango Makes Three - Peter Parnell & ‎Justin Richardson

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr.

Charlotte's Web - E.B White

Harry Potter - J.K Rowling

 

A New Chapter - Technology & Accessible Reading

Technology has certainly changed the way we consume literature. With the rise of e-books, audiobooks, and reading apps has both positives and negatives when it comes to making reading more accessible.


These new formats:

  • Have made reading more accessible and convenient for many people.

  • Made reading more portable and accessible for people who may not have access to physical copies.

  • Makes reading more accessible for people with visual impairments or reading difficulties, as they can be downloaded and listened to on demand.

  • Creates a social community through reading apps like Goodreads and Kindle that rely on user reviews to recommend books to other readers

But there are negatives, such as the fact they can't replace the tactile feeling of holding a book and the cost of e-readers or tablets required to access e-books and audiobooks might cause a digital divide with those who do not have access to technology or who are not comfortable with it being left behind.


 

Discussion points for Equality and Diversity

  • How can we work towards creating a more inclusive literary landscape?

  • Have you read (or listened to) any interesting books recently?

  • Do underrepresented authors have opportunities to share their work?

  • At what point does a book become "illegal"?


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