It’s a little confusing to me, but the UN and UNESCO says today is apparently both “World Book & Copyright Day” and “UN English Language Day.” It’s also celebrated in some countries, particularly in the UK, as “World Book Night.”
I use the word “confusing” because UNESCO has also declared March 6th as World Book Day (see The Best Resources For World Book Day). My sense is that UNESCO’s strategy is March 6th is for celebration reading in general, and today, April 23rd, emphasizes book-giving.
I’d be happy, though, to be told by someone that there’s a more clear difference between the two.
And, as far as being UN English Language Day. Here’s an explanation from My English Club:
English, along with French, is one of the two working languages of the United Nations, and one of the Organization’s six official languages.
Because it is so widely spoken, English is often referred to as a “world language”, or the lingua franca of the modern era.
English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization’s six official languages. The purpose of the UN’s language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.
Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization’s six official languages.
The days are as follows:
Arabic (18 December)
Chinese (20 April)
French (20 March)
Russian (6 June)
Spanish (12 October)
Here are some resources on both of these days:
World Book Night: Leading authors line up for ‘sacred’ celebration is from The Guardian, which also has a whole collection of resources.
Southern Californians ready for latest chapter of World Book Night is from The LA Times.
Here’s the UN’s official announcement of language days.
Additional suggestions are welcome.