Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

World Book Night and a Proper Celebration of the Day of Shakespeare’s Birth

In terms of folks who share my birthday today, it’s a mixed bag.  On the one hand I got Shakespeare.  So . . . y’know.  That’s nice.  By the same token 4/23 was the reported date of the death of Cervantes.  On the other hand, I share my birthday with President James Buchanan.  Oog.  But then I also got Shirley Temple and Vladimir Nabokov.  Now THERE is a pairing for you!

So if we’re going to do this correctly we need to have something properly Shakespearean to celebrate today.  I suggest that you head on over to this site and read a version of The Hokey Pokey as written by the man in question.  It’s worth it alone for the line “Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.”

But wait!  There’s more!  Unless I much miss my guess tonight also is World Book Night.  What is it, you might ask?  Well, according to their website it says:

World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: It’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways—through the sharing of stories.

World Book Night is a nonprofit organization. We exist because of the support of thousands of book givers, booksellers, librarians, and financial supporters who believe in our mission. Successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night was first celebrated in the U.S. in 2012. Thank you to our U.K. friends for such a wonderful idea!

So there you go!  If you do nothing else today, just give somebody a book.  As the bard might have said, ’tis what it’s all about.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    Happy birthday, Betsy! You don’t look a day over 450 . . . oh, wait, that’s Shakespeare. :-)
    We’re doing World Book Night for the third year in a row at my English in Action program and it’s a great bookish initiative. As Carl Lennertz would say, I’m one of the “giverati.” By the way, last night, I was at your former workplace on Fifth Avenue for the WBN launch and I can tell you, libraries got a lot of love from all the speakers.

  2. Happy Birthday, Betsy Bird!

    That’s fun to say — maybe there’s a picture book in there….