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Get Booked

Since 1995, April 23 is being celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day. With books in dire danger of losing interest among youngsters, HT City focuses on the fine print as a tribute to the day.

chandigarh Updated: Apr 23, 2012 11:55 IST
Swati Goel Sharma
Swati Goel Sharma
Hindustan Times

How heavenly is the act of reading! All book lovers know how a book can open up a whole new world to a reader, and how precious a thing it is. A book can be absorbing, entertaining, exciting and even life changing.

However, in an era when reading books can feel like a pre-Internet anachronism, the joys of reading are lost on the young generation. Mounting academic pressure, the lure of idiot box and information available in just a click of the mouse, are just some of the factors that are increasingly taking attention away from the printed word.

Because reading needs a specialised skill - that of creating visuals in the mind's eye even as it is focused on the printed word - not reading books may even lead to a lesser-developed imagination in a child.

On World Book and Copyright Day, we offer some easy tips that can make your child discover the exciting world of books.

1. Make books appear fun

Arouse your child's interest in reading by making books appear cool. For instance, you can have the images of books printed on their T-shirts or coffee mugs.

2. Make visits to libraries a family routine

You go to movies together, dine in restaurants as one unit and even venture together to entertainment parks. Why not go to a library too? Fix a day in a week, depending on your convenience, and regularly visit a library with your kids in tow.

3. Subscribe to children's magazines

Do it, even if the kids prefer video games to sitting curled up on a sofa with a book in hand. In his or her free time, your kid would pick it up, if only to glance cursorily through it. This might be his or her baby step to becoming a voracious reader.

4. Read, and let your child see it

Children imitate their elders. With the parents' actions influencing them, fathers and mothers can practice what they preach and pick up books to read when kids are around. Seeing you read might spark the kid's interest. Also, when you read and they watch, make it a point to share what you are reading.

5. Download e-books

With e-books here in a big way, we might as well make use of them. If your child must read on the computer, download e-books for him or her and make those available for your kid to read.

6. Do not throw away books, share them

Respect books. Indulge in online swapping, donate them in schools or public libraries, or just gift to a lesser-privileged child, but do not throw them.

7. Plan local reading events

Whether in the clubs you frequent, in your residential colony, or in your friends' circle, make group-reading events regular. Make them interesting by holding discussions, or perhaps inviting popular guest readers.

Bookish beginnings

World Book and Copyright Day is a yearly event celebrated on April 23, organised by UNESCO in an effort to promote reading, publishing and protection of intellectual property through copyright.

Interestingly, April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature, since April 23, 1616 was marked by the death of Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. This also happens to be the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo, according to the UNESCO website.

The idea to celebrate the day is said to have originated in Catalonia in Spain, where it has become a tradition to give a rose as a gift for each book purchased.

We get stars to talk about their favourite books that keep them hooked

1. Amita Pathak, Bollywood actor

"I like to read once in a while, whenever I get time. The Secret, by Ronda Byrne, is a book very close to my heart. Before I picked it, I had heard that this book had helped a lot of people overcome troubles in lives, and it indeed turned out to be a pleasure reading it."

2. Pammi Bai, Punjabi folk singer

"I love books! My favourite genre is culture and I thrive on books - national and international - written on the cultures of various places. Banjara Bedi and M S Randhawa are among my favourite authors. My love for reading is hereditary, since my father was a voracious reader. In fact, in his memory, I have created a library in a school in my village Jakhpel in district Sangrur, which houses over 4,000 books."

3. Jonita Doda, actor

"I am not an avid reader, but once I start reading a book, I don't keep it down until I finish it. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin S Sharma, is a favourite."

4. Divya Dutta, actor

"Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is my favourite novel. I am a great book lover and try to read in between shots."

First Published: Apr 23, 2012 11:41 IST