April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day.
According to the World Blind Union approximately one in every 200 people on Earth—39 million of us—cannot see. Another 246 million have severely reduced vision. These ‘visually impaired persons’ or ‘persons with a print disability’ can access an estimated 10% of all written information and literary works that sighted people can read.
Poorly designed or inaccessible books also limit reading and comprehension of those who have learning disabilities. According to the International Dyslexia Association, 3-5 percent of the school population requires special accommodations and support.