Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 7 August 2020

Read the World: Children can now be read to by their favourite authors via live stream

This International Children's Book Day, children can tune in to hear 'Geronimo Stilton' author Elisabetta Dami read to them

Elisabetta Dami is an Italian children's author, best known for the 'Geronimo Stilton' series.
Elisabetta Dami is an Italian children's author, best known for the 'Geronimo Stilton' series.

The 53rd International Children’s Book Day is being marked a little differently around the world this year.

With much of the world's children confined indoors, and communal reading events out of the question, a trio of global organisations have come together to support young people in isolation, by giving them access to their favourite books and authors, from the comfort of their living rooms.

The International Publishers Association, the World Health Organisation and Unicef have established the new Read the World initiative, which will launch today, on the 53rd International Children’s Book Day.

The initiative will beam world-renowned children's authors into homes around the world to read extracts of their books.

The first session will take place today with Italian author Elisabetta Dami, creator of the popular character Geronimo Stilton.

If you want to join in on the session, you'll need to tune in to Dami's Instagram account at 7pm UAE time (3pm GMT).

Dami, whose beloved books have sold more than 180 million copies and are published in 50 different languages, will also respond to comments and questions via the platform.

Dami is particularly well placed to take place in the initiative, considering the toll the virus has taken on her native Milan.

Her career as a children's author gains new meaning too, when you consider that in the 1990s Dami found out she couldn't bear children, and so took to volunteering in paediatric hospitals instead. And then, Geronimo Stilton the mouse was born.

Written for children aged six to 12, the Geronimo Stilton books, which have titles such as The Peculiar Pumpkin Thief and The Stinky Cheese Vacation, fizz with energy and curiosity. Every page brims with one-liners and bold illustrations of characters such as Wolfgang Wild Paws, Samuel S Stingysnout and Creepella Von Cacklefur.

"I always tell children that when you do something with your heart and it’s a passion, it’s not a sacrifice. It is such a pleasure for me to write,” Dami told The National in October.

Several other noted children’s authors have agreed to host their own sessions, and announcements of authors and timings will be updated on the Read the World website.

“WHO is committed to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic on all fronts, especially when it comes to protecting young people,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

“We understand the fear and anxieties many feel and know how the joy of reading can stimulate young minds, ease tensions and provide hope.”

Updated: April 2, 2020 12:29 PM

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