February 14 is best known as Valentine’s Day, but did you know it’s also International Book Giving Day? And what better way to spread the love of reading than by surprising a child with a book…
I count myself really lucky because books and reading have always been a part of mine and my children’s lives, but I was staggered to find out that in the UK one third of children do not own books.
International Book Giving Day is a volunteer-led initiative to get more books into the hands of children. Whether you gift a book to a friend, family member, or a complete stranger, it’s an excellent chance to brighten someone’s day with a story. And it doesn’t have to cost you money either – why not give a book from your own collection?
In case you still need some encouragement to take part, here are five reasons why I think you should…
1. Spread a love of books
Books make a massive contribution to children’s development – teaching them about language, developing their vocabulary, feeding their imagination, and introducing them to environments, experiences and communities they may not come across in their day-to-day lives. Books also give families the chance to spend quality time together, talk to each other, share experiences, and snuggle down (my personal favourite!).
2. Share your favourite stories
If you love that book so much, I bet someone else will too. I love to hear about people’s favourite storybooks, and share ours with others too – it’s a brilliant feeling when someone tells you that book you recommended is now a family favourite.
3. Everyone loves a surprise
Brighten a little person’s day by giving them a book or leaving one somewhere for them to find. Why not wrap it up like a gift, or use one of International Book Giving Day’s free book plates so they know why the book has been left for them – and who it’s been left by.
4. Teach your children the importance of sharing and giving
Get your children involved with choosing and giving the books. I’ll be asking my boys who they’d like to give books to and will let them choose the books as well. You could even encourage your children to select one of their own (not too tatty!) books to give to someone else. Or maybe you’ve got a spare in your present box you could give away?
5. Give back to your local community
Make a difference in your local community by donating a book (or books!) to a local charity or children’s group. Or leave a book somewhere local to you where a child will find it – it could be a playground, bus stop or doctor’s waiting room. Or if you’ve got a few books you’re happy to gift, why not leave a box outside your home or place of work with a note encouraging children to help themselves.
For more ways to get involved in International Book Giving Day, and for a whole host of free resources visit www.bookgivingday.com
If I’ve inspired you, please share photos of your book giving on social media using #bookgivingday and I’d love it if you tag me too (see my handles below).