April 23 marks a day that is viewed as symbolic for those in the literary world. According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization website, it is the day that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. The day notable authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Mejia Vallejo were all born.
At the 1995 UNESCO General Conference in Paris, it was a "world-wide tribute" encouraging individuals to read, especially young people, and a celebration of the book industry. This day celebrates authors, publishers, booksellers and those in the industry. It was a tribute to books and authors hoping to give people the encouragement to pick up a book. It is described as "a beautiful invention for sharing ideas beyond the boundaries of humanity, space and time as well as the most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building".
At the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France a celebration takes place where those involved in the literary industry are invited to share about their passion for books, reading and hosting workshops for children and young adults. Around the world people will be commemorating this day, by bringing people together with the power of reading.
UNESCO says it is a day that unites and creates a powerful link all over the world between the past and future, recognizing the magical power of books. Part of UNESCO's goal is to help young people discover the joy of reading and acknowledging and respecting the stories or writings of people who furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. Ultimately, UNESCO says this is why World Book and Copyright Day was created and is celebrated on April 23 across the globe.
Part of the celebration also includes selecting a city each year as the World Book Capital of the year which began with the success of World Book Day. UNESCO has chosen a capital each year since 2001 when Madrid, Spain as the first. It's the duty of the capital city to promote books and reading, and organize activities throughout the year. This year the World Book Capital 2018 is Athens, Greece. UNESCO chose Athens because of its quality of its activities and aim to make books accessible to the city's entire population including migrants and refugees.
An Advisory Committee with representatives from the International Publisher's Association, International Federation of Library Associations and UNESCO chose the city to support as the book capital. Cities have to apply to be chosen as the book capital. The 2019 capital has already been chosen as Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The committee is currently accepting applications for 2020.
The ability to tell stories has evolved over thousands of years from being on walls of caves, ancient tablets, to papyrus scrolls, to the first stages of printing, binding the books, to audio and digital. No matter the format, the importance of sharing literature has been happening for many generations. Telling stories has always been critical to history and we can continue to learn from those in the past and present. Having a world celebration acknowledging the importance of literature and writers from all time periods and places will only ensure the possibility of a great future for anyone. It is important for UNESCO to make resources available, and assist in making reading materials possible for everyone.
What about closer to home? How does Iowa partake in celebrating books and giving back to our state and local communities?
As supporters of books and the use of copyright, UNESCO believes in standing up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge. To make this possible UNESCO created the Creative Cities of Literature network to help promote literacy and mobile learning. In Iowa UNESCO has one of its 20 United States City of Literature locations in Iowa City. It was designated as a City of Literature in 2008 according to the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature website.
The Creative Cities Network began in 2004, and commit sharing their best ideas and partnering with public and private sectors. This network of cities doesn't only focus on literature but seven creative fields total. Those fields include crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy and music in addition to literature.
There are 180 cities across the world that makeup the network of creative cities working towards a goal of strengthening creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at a local level and cooperating actively at the international level. This partnership with UNESCO is used as a breeding ground for action and innovation.
Iowa City recently hosted the Cities of Literature conference April 3-6. There were 36 delegates from 23 countries joined together for the four day conference that showcased activity in their literary cities and potential collaborations.
To continue support of this foundation, Iowa City of Literature works with AmazonSmile. People are able to support the group by donating 0.5% of eligible purchases while they shop. Shoppers are able to choose which charity they choose to support.
Support to literature by Amazon doesn't just stop with the donation through AmazonSmile to Iowa City. For World Book Day, Amazon is running a campaign called "Read the World". Using the hashtag #readtheworld encourages readers from around the world to join together in reading international literature. People can discover recommendations and connect with authors, book clubs and fellow readers.
Amazon says its goal is to bring readers from around the world together through translated literature. The program that assists with this is AmazonCrossing. This allows award-winning and best-selling foreign language books accessible to new readers. In addition to the translated books, Amazon is offering 10 Kindle books from authors around the world for free. People can now download a free translated book from Spain, Chile, Turkey, Japan and more.
So how can you get involved or help make a difference? Why should you help create the importance of reading and giving other the opportunity to explore new stories?
Often local charities like the Boys and Girls Club of America or United Way which has a library are always accepting books for their small personal libraries. Some schools have lost access to a librarian due to budget cuts, volunteer your time to read to a class of students or as a volunteer librarian. Schools bookshelves have become empty, so when the yearly Scholastic Book Fair comes around, purchase or bring in books you don't want anymore and donate them. Look online for people seeking tutors for their children who need help in reading or are struggling in school. Helping children feel confident in their reading ability will only encourage them to want to read more.
What does reading and books mean to Tero International? And why is it important to us? As an education company, continual learning and life education includes books and the new insights we can gain from them.
Tero's professional development blog includes a monthly feature called the "Book of the Month". The books are typically business, goal, leadership or self-improvement related. The blog summarizes the book, pulls out key points and guides readers to use the techniques. Tero encourages its employees to constantly be educating themselves and learning the latest research in many fields to have well-rounded views and insights.
Reading published works by those in our industry or even writing our own books are just a few of the ways Tero incorporates books into the company. In 2017, after eight years of writing, re-writing and writing some more, President Rowena Crosbie and Vice President, Chief Learning Officer Deborah Rinner published their award-winning book Your Invisible Toolbox: The Technological Ups and Interpersonal Downs of the Millennial Generation.
Your Invisible Toolbox contains 100 of the most important soft skills tools used by the most successful communicators in the world. It covers topics on personal growth, tools for leaders, interacting with others, working globally and presenting yourself in the world.
Crosbie and Rinner created a weekly YouTube show that dives into the topics covered in the book. The show allows for guest appearances from leaders and various industry experts. It also opens up for a more in-depth discussion on the tools required for viewers to grow personally and professionally. People skills or soft skills have never been more important in today's business world. Each chapter is paired with one of the tools in a short easy-to-read format. Improving your interpersonal skills has never been easier or more possible. It's become vital for any individual, especially those soon to be graduating or recently graduated, to prepare themselves with the skills offered.
Education books are not all that Tero reads however. Reading in any format is encouraged whether it's magazines, non-fiction, thriller, mystery, romance, sci-fi, children's stories, newspapers or fiction. Maintaining a healthy reading lifestyle and encouraging reading is just one of the many ways Tero can help support World Book Day.
Pick up a book today, sit down with someone or donate your time to your local library, school or charity and give the gift of reading on World Book Day and any day that's possible.
Rowena Crosbie, President and CEO
"It takes a look at the dark side of the wide availability of information. Nichols argues that the ability to choose the information (and misinformation) we consume has led to a narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates. While I don't agree with all his points, his ability to provoke the reader and invite deeper thought about information consumption habits makes this."
Deborah Rinner, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
"It is a love story and a story that examines social justice and the injustice that plagues society. It also relates the intricacies of family and relationships. Jones has beautiful passages in this book, ways of phrasing things that connect you to the souls of the characters."
Ann Block, Vice President Client Relations
The Truth about Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-Of-The-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Gail Williams, Elite Training Consultant
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
"Discusses how living in the present moment and being mindful helps us to not only survive and exist but floursih and grow from these experiences. We are so rushed and looking at our "to do and check lists" that we rarely slow down to pay attention to the signs and lessons in our everyday lives and interactions with others. It also encourages us to be purposeful in what we set out to everyday - not just as a long term goal of achievement - but short term goals in humanity."
Wayne Bruns, Elite Training Consultant
Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
"I have always been fascinated with Leonardo's ability to merge art with science. This biography does not disappoint. The author is also able to provide insights into the mind of one of the great thinkers of the last 600 years."
Rachel Trainum, Marketing and Communications Specialist
Miss Ex-Yugoslavia: A Memoir by Sofija Stefanovic
"I always enjoy reading memoirs and learning about other people's experiences. This book has been eye opening to the immigrant experience and trying to belong. I like that it's funny and heartfelt and is well written to depict what it's like to know where home is. It also has given me the opportunity to learn about wars in other countries and their cultures."
Kyle Plummer, Marketing Director
Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman
"I would say this is my favorite book at the moment. Reason: It explains the science and research behind why humans are built to connect with one another. And how harmful it can be if we don't... very interesting in a time where we seem to connect "Socially" less and less."
Kim Greth, Training Coordinator
Harry Bosch Series by Michael Connelly
"I have a favorite author and book series. I find reading to be incredibly relaxing and a kind of escape from everyday life. I also love when a book sparks my interest in something I've never heard of and I then go on to learn more about it."
Kyle Hopkins, Elite Training Consultant
"Reading is critical to understand history and the context behind our current reality. With knowledge of the stories, legends and history of a place we can be more effective."
Carlos, Elite Training Consultant
Everyday Greatness: Inspiration for a Meaningful Life by Stephen Covey and Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives by Martin Marger
"There are two books I am currently reading. The first book has one goal, Inspiration for a meaningful life. I love to read for several reasons. Learn new things. Explore new perspectives. Reinforce certain perspectives. Escape. Enjoy mental vacations. Another "something" as a talking point when interacting with others."
Dan Winters, Elite Training Consultant
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
"It's the sixth book in the Little House series, and our family's current bedtime story. Every night, my wife and I cuddle up with our little boys and read a chapter. We love learning about another family's historical adventures."
Ben Crosby, Elite Training Consultant
The Iliad by Homer and Speaking Into The Air: A History of the Idea of Communicationby John Durham Peters
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