World Book Day: This tank encourages reading, not war

Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff has created a tank of books, which he is driving around Argentina to bring attention to education and reading. Lemesoff says he hopes it encourages youth to choose education over violence.

Ann Hermes
American history and culture books line a bookshelf at the 'Discovering Columbus' exhibit in New York, New York.

How's this for a novel way to celebrate World Book Day?

A tank, made not of steel and ammunition but of books, that seeks to encourage reading, not war.

Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff has done just that with his tank of books, which he is driving around Argentina to encourage education and reading.

Called "Weapons of Mass Instruction," the tank, is in fact, a 1979 Ford Falcon that Lemesoff, working with 7UP, transformed into a tank-cum-traveling library.

"Although the tank may look militant, it has a very serious function of peace – Lemesoff tours through Argentina’s urban centers and rural communities, offering free books to anyone interested," writes Design Boom.

The vehicle's "shelves" can carry some 900 books – a rotating collection of novels, poetry, and biographies – which Lemesoff hands out to whomever asks as he drives through the city's streets.

Lemesoff calls the tank-cum-library "a contribution to peace through literature" and said that he hoped it encouraged youth to choose education over violence.

It's a unique way to celebrate World Book Day, an annual celebration of literature in which children in Britain and Ireland celebrate reading by dressing up as literary characters and for which children receive book tokens equivalent to one pound that allow them to go to bookstores and get certain titles in exchange for the tokens.

The event sees children dress up as characters from such young adult classics as "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter," and "101 Dalmations."

In honor of World Book Day, Lemesoff dressed up his car and shared his top seven reads: "Don Quixote," by Miguel De Cervantes; "Pilgrim’s Progress," by John Bunyan; "Robinson Crusoe," by Daniel Defoe; "Gulliver’s Travels," by Jonathan Swift; "Tom Jones," by Henry Fielding; "Clarissa," by Samuel Richardson; and "Tristram Shandy," by Laurence Sterne.

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