World Book Day kicks off a calendar of fun reading events for Pittsburgh families 

By Melissa Rayworth

“Read … so you never feel alone.” That’s the slogan for World Book Day, celebrated around the world on April 23. This annual event was created by UNESCO to promote the enjoyment of books and reading, and to recognize that books serve as a link between the past and the future, and a bridge between generations and across cultures.

“The power of books must be fully harnessed,” says Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO. “We must ensure their access so that everyone can take refuge in reading, and by doing so, be able to dream, learn and reflect.”

According to data gathered by the Literacy Project, books often contain many words that children don’t encounter in spoken language. So reading is a powerful way to grow a child’s vocabulary. Young children who are read to frequently are also more likely to count to 20 or higher and more likely to be able to write their own names than children who were not read to by adults. 

In Pittsburgh, World Book Day will kick off several weeks of fun and educational book-related events for kids and parents. Though these events all have different entry points to the world of books and reading, they share a common message: Books open doors for children and adults. 

Along with sitting down to read your own books or visiting a nearby Carnegie library on World Book Day, here’s some upcoming fun for local families: 

  • On May 6, families are invited to a free, virtual event hosted by Laurel Highlands High School’s Mini Mighty Mustang program. Learn more about the event and register at
  • On Sunday, May 9, at Central Cambria School District in Ebensburg, families will learn to bring their favorite book characters to life through coding and robotics during the free Books & Bots event. Readers, makers and coders of all ages and abilities are invited, and all you need to bring is your imagination.
  • On May 20, join Mister Rogers’ real-life colleagues for a fun Q&A hosted by the writers of “When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids.” What was Fred Rogers like when he wasn’t on camera? How did he make Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood into the beloved program it became? And what can parents, educators, and everyone else learn from Fred Rogers today?

And ahead of next year’s Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books, the festival’s organizers are partnering with Google Pittsburgh and RIF Pittsburgh to give away more than 1,000 books to children at early child education centers in the coming weeks. With access to libraries, bookstores and the RIF Storymobiles limited in the past year by COVID-19, the partnering organizations are looking to help young readers, especially those most affected by the pandemic.

The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books is slated to happen next year on May 14, 2022, and will likely include a Remake Learning Days Across America event. In the meantime, if you’re looking to inspire your kids to love books, here are 10 great ways to make that happen, courtesy of our friends at Common Sense Media.