Monday, April 21, 2008

Celebrate the International Day of the Book

In my previous post, I wrote about our family’s newfound love of the library. Coincidentally, I just found out that April 23 is an international celebration called World Book and Copyright Day. So, I can’t let this event pass without talking about reading one more time. First, here’s what the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) web site has to say about this special day:

More than 100 countries will take part on 23 April in the 13th celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, proclaimed by UNESCO in 1996. Publishers, book shops, libraries, schools, cultural institutions and authors’ societies from all over the world have undertaken to celebrate the Day and promote the enduring importance of books.

As an author and a mother, I couldn’t be more thrilled with any event that encourages people to read. I can’t imagine my life without books, and I know my children can’t either. My teenage boys are currently engrossed in reading the Dune sci-fi series. My preschoolers beg me to read to them every night (which I gladly do). And my husband and I always have several books going. I alternate between fiction and nonfiction books. Mike is usually reading books about investing, mountain climbing, or other interests.

For those of you who are going to say that you just don’t have time to read (and I’m guilty of saying that myself), why not try out an audiobook? You can listen to it while you’re using your computer, driving in the car or working out at the gym. I recently discovered audio books, as well. (Yes, I know they’ve been around for a while, but I can be a little slow in catching up on the latest trends!) Moreover, you can download them right from the computer. Audible.com has a great selection of audiobooks for adults, and they now have a new service for kids called AudibleKids.com. They describe themselves as “an engaging, interactive community of parents, their kids, and educators that promotes the fun of storytelling through audiobooks. Listen to books, read and post reviews, and share your favorites with others.” AudibleKids has a huge selection of books (more than 3,500), ranging from simple “easy readers” to books that are enjoyed by teens and adults. There’s a parents’ guide and even a way for parents to set up an “allowance” for their kids so they can pick out their favorite books, but stay within your budget. You can listen to samples of books, and the stories are downloadable to most MP3 players. You can search for books by category, age, grade, title, author, keyword, award winners and more. There are even 99-cent specials so you can try them out with minimal investment.

So, don’t let International Book Day pass without resolving to incorporate more books into your family’s life. There’s no excuse for not reading. Head to the library; go to the bookstore; dust off the books on your bookshelves; or check out AudibleKids.com for an audiobook. As Heinrich Mann said, “A house without books is like a room without windows.”

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