APRIL 2 was recognised around the world as International Children’s Book Day.
Observed in remembrance of the birthday of Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, since 1967 International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been celebrated to inspire a love for reading and to bring attention to children’s books across the globe.
This year, the International Publishers Association (IPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF collaborated for the Read the World initiative.
This initiative which began last Thursday will see much-loved children’s authors reading extracts of their books to millions of children and young people who are currently living in isolation because of the covid19 pandemic. These readings will soon be shared on line.
In a release on the initiative, IPA president Hugo Setzer said, “These are uncharted waters for us all, and the psycho-social effects of prolonged isolation and social distancing are yet to be seen and understood.”
“All of us should take particular care of our mental health at the moment, and especially that of young minds. The IPA wanted to do something positive to bring children and their favourite writers closer, to stimulate their interest in books and to create a carefree moment for families to share during this difficult period of confinement.”
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore noted, “Children’s lives and routines have been turned upside down in just a few short weeks.”
“Even when the outside world is out of bounds for now, reading can remind children and young people that the transportive power of books is unlimited.”
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organisation is committed to fighting the covid19 pandemic on all fronts, especially when it comes to protecting young people.
“We understand the fear and anxieties many feel and know how the joy of reading can stimulate young minds, ease tensions and provide hope.”
In Trinidad, bronze participants of the Naparima Open Unit (NOU) of The President’s Award (TPATT) along with unit leader Lindsay Sahai also celebrated this day.
Global Dignity Chair of TT and Award Leader of the NOU, Vanessa Sahatoo-Manoo was instrumental in developing the project to inspire the love for reading while helping needy children.
She said four of the bronze participants – Rakesh Lal, Kirsten Baksh, Mia Cezair and Nisha Mohammed – took up the challenge to read and give as well a brief interpretation of the story line.
“During this dark time of covid19, the participants have been engaged in a number of activities and this is their way of inspiring each other as an 'award family' and beyond,” Sahatoo-Manoo said.
Global Dignity TT will donate $400 worth of school supplies ($100 worth for each participant) to a needy pre-school in south Trinidad, once Government lifts the stay indoors order.
She said Global Dignity’s mission is to unite everyone with the belief that all deserve to live a life of dignity.
“We believe that ensuring the dignity of every single person is essential to combating intolerance, injustice and inequality. Through education and initiatives in more than 80 countries, we empower people to recognise their own inherent dignity and respect the equal worth of all others.”