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Online celebration of International Children's Book Day on 2 April

On 2 April, we celebrate International Children's Book Day.

For the past 55 years, the Reading Badge has been a unique programme on a global scale that promotes voluntary leisure reading

For the past 55 years, the Reading Badge has been a unique programme on a global scale that promotes voluntary leisure reading | Author Douglas Waters-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

During the outbreak of the coronavirus when many book lovers and avid readers cannot visit bookstores or libraries, or attend literary events, there are still alternative ways to enjoy books.

Therefore, the Slovenian division of the IBBY and Pionirska – centre of youth literature and librarianship are holding an online campaign to promote reading before International Children's Book Day. They are calling on children to read a passage from one of Peter Svetina's or Damijan Stepančič's books that received the Golden Pear (‘zlata hruška’) award and post the passage on their Facebook page.

At some schools, International Children's Book Day on 2 April serves as the conclusion of the Slovenian Reading Badge programme. For the past 55 years, the Reading Badge has been a unique programme on a global scale that promotes voluntary leisure reading. It first evolved within Slovenian primary schools, however, for the last 20 years, it has also been inspiring the youngest children who read with their parents to complete their preschool reading badge. The prevalence of reading on such a scale, especially among primary school children, is not found anywhere else in the world. During the outbreak of the coronavirus and the current exceptional circumstances, it has been suggested that schools that conclude the reading badge programme in April extend the deadline for its completion until the end of the school year.

One of the Slovenian publishing houses, Mladinska knjiga, is offering 50 free e-books in its e-Emka online bookshop to readers. They can choose between e-books for all ages and tastes, suitable for everyone from the youngest to the oldest.

Mladinska knjiga's initiative is only one the initiatives introduced by Slovenian publishing houses, libraries and other institutions in the book industry during a time when measures have been taken to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. For instance, the National and University Library has made some of its documents and books available, while smaller publishers have also offered free access to e-publications and also have special offers. In Slovenia, there is also the Biblos online bookshop and library, which enables people to access books remotely. This only reinforces our love and affinity for books during these hard times.

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