WHO and UNICEF launch Read the World on International Children’s Book Day to support children and young people in isolation:

Altaf Hamid Rao,

MIRPUR, (Parliament Times):  The much-loved children’s authors are joining an initiative to read extracts of their books to millions of children and young people currently living in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was officially said.

Read the World is a collaboration between the International Publishers Association (IPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It kicks off today, on International Children’s Book Day, at 15.00 GMT/17.00 CET with Italian author Elisabetta Dami, creator of the popular character Geronimo Stilton, a WHO, UNICEF press statement issued on Thursday said.

“These are uncharted waters for us all, and the psycho-social effects of prolonged isolation and social distancing are yet to be seen and understood,” said IPA President Hugo Setzer. “All of us should take particular care of our mental health at the moment, and especially that of young minds. The IPA wanted to do something positive to bring children and their favourite writers closer, to stimulate their interest in books and to create a carefree moment for families to share during this difficult period of confinement.”

“Children’s lives and routines have been turned upside down in just a few short weeks,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Even when the outside world is out of bounds for now, reading can remind children and young people that the transportive power of books is unlimited.”

“WHO is committed to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on all fronts, especially when it comes to protecting young people,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We understand the fear and anxieties many feel and know how the joy of reading can stimulate young minds, ease tensions and provide hope.”

Elisabetta Dami will read on her personal Instagram account in English from 15.00-15.30 GMT 17.00-17.30 CET. Dami, whose books have sold more than 180 million copies around the world and are published in 50 different languages, will also respond to comments and questions via the platform.

Several other noted children’s authors have agreed to join the Read the World initiative, details of which will be available soon at https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/read-the-world.

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