This coming Thursday is World Book Day. If you haven’t heard, this is a registered charity whose mission is to give every young person a book. It’s also a way to honor authors, illustrators, and books. Above all, World Book Day is a huge celebration of reading that is now entering its 22nd year. UNESCO has declared it a worldwide celebration and over 100 countries participate. Along with resources packs and activities available to all, registered schools in Ireland and the UK are sent book tokens, which students can redeem at booksellers for a free selected title or for savings on other titles.
All authors long to reach a respectable number of readers (whatever that number may be). The success of the books with the largest impact in the world show just how profound the many types of change are that books can bring. Raising student interest in reading can help lead to a life-long love of reading, so it’s important to note that books can have an impact at any age.
World Book Day
Storytellers have an amazing power to impact society with their writing. Books allow some an escape from their everyday lives and convey worlds sometimes drastically different than the one we’re in now. Some books give homebound mothers a glimpse into different parts of the world while others give children role models who otherwise wouldn’t exist in their lives.
Books with the Largest Impact in the World
In some cases, the stories we create can make more long-lasting impacts. For example, Catch-22 introduced a new approach to satire and introduced new themes and idioms to the world. The Feminine Mystique influenced the second wave of feminism and even influenced new legislation like the Equal Pay Act of 1963. To get an idea of just what kind of books make this impact, take a look at this list of books with the largest impact below from Largest.org to see what influence classic books and novels imparted on the world. They picked out a few influential books from several decades and called out the type of change they made in the world. Look through their list and see if your favorite stacks up and how you can make a change.
As seen on Largest.org:
Ways You Can Honor World Book Day
If you’re a teacher, librarian, administrator, or involved in the education of children in any number of ways, pay a visit to the World Book Day website for ideas and resources. If you’re an author, you could also consider donating copies of your own book or others to various schools in your area or collaborating with a teacher you know on a book talk for students. Beyond that, it doesn’t take long to get on Amazon and send a young person in your life a book. The book you gift might be something popular or perhaps a book that has had a lasting impact on you. You could also offer to pay for a young person’s book at a local bookstore, or even buy a book and affix a note to it to be found later by a random reader.
Other Bookish Celebrations
Many other bookish celebrations abound, such as National Poetry Month and Banned Books week. Doctor Seuss’s birthday usually gets plenty of notoriety as well. Beyond that, other noted large-scale celebrations include World Book Night, Short Story Month, and International Literacy Day. Countless other book-related take place on various scales the world over. Why not make a point to commit to one or more over the course of the coming year? Spread your love of reading!
Have you ever celebrated World Book Day? If not, start now! What books have most impacted you and why?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like reading Banning Books Silence Stories or The Transformative Power of Literature.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2019.
I think it’s eBook week as well – lots of reasons to celebrate books.
Thanks for the reminder, Alex!
I honestly haven’t read most of these and so I think some of these will be my next reads. On the flips side, I met my husband performing in a show that was a compilation of fables from across the world. So I’d say Aesop’s Fables had a huge impact on my own life.
Erica, thanks for sharing how you met your husband. That’s wonderful and shows too the many ways that stories can bring us together.
I thought I’d see Catcher in the Rye on this list.
Glynis, this list focuses a bit more on nonfiction titles, but Salinger’s work could easily be at home here.
Great post, Jeri. thanks for sharing and no, I have not celebrated this before 😛 I hope to do one of the things on your suggestion list on Thursday. Interesting choices of books. I’d have to say that Diary of Anne Frank had the most impact on me. I was twelve when I read it. They avoided saying Jewish girl in the ‘type of impact’ blurb. Seems to miss the point on that one IMHO. Look forward to seeing your tweets and instas on Thursday, Jeri!
Lisa, I agree now that you’ve pointed that out.
I will celebrate on Thursday. Not sure how, but I do have plans to visit the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library. Perhaps I will find inspiration in Tolkien’s illustrations?
Candy, enjoy the Tolkien exhibit!
Books are almost always my gift of choice–for my niece and nephew and now for the great niece and nephew. It is thrilling to know that people I love, love to read and to encourage that with gifts.
RoseMary, I tend to give books as gifts too.
Looks like I have some catching up to do! I’ve only read about half of these. I love that there is a while organization dedicated to getting books into the hands of young readers!
Meredith, there are certainly always more books to add to the TBR pile 🙂 When I see what organizations like World Book Day can do, I smile. When I’m subbing in various schools, I always appreciate the hard work that librarians do to spread the love of reading.
So many books could be on that list. I thought of Grapes of Wrath, Crime and Punishment and Oliver Twist. Or how about Green Eggs and Ham?
Ken, Dr. Seuss has certainly had far-flung impact in the world of literature. Sam I am!
I don’t remember World Book Day. Love the idea! The only two books on the list I’ve read are The Jungle and Anne Frank. I even have the King James Bible but never read it. Maybe I should consider it. I thought The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri would be on the list.
Thanks for the reminder, Jeri!
Denise, it can be hard to keep up with all the designated days that honor everything under the sun, lol.
Books are amazing. I’m going to have to tell my daughter and we can celebrate by reading together!
Loni, it’s great that you read to your daughter. My older sister read to me all the time when I was younger, and I know that fed into my love of books.
Books are the best gifts and eternal friends! Thanks for sharing this wonderful list of books that made an impact. Happy World book day.
Happy World Book day to you as well, Balroop.
Great post!. It is amazing to see two Greek classic books are included in the list (Aesop’s ‘Fables’ and Plato’s ‘Republic’). Orwell and Darwin definitely deserve to be here. (I predicted forehand Orwell’s ‘1984’ would be among the books with the largest impact, by the way ????).
Sending love and best wishes, dear Jeri ????
Aqui, all manner of good things to you as well!
I recently got a copy of The Feminine Mystique but have yet to read it! Time is flying by and I just want to stop and savour the moments a bit more. All the best to you, Jeri xx