Share the love…
“Love is the only thing you get more of by giving it away.”
February 14th is a day historically set aside for celebrating the love you share with that special someone. Red roses by the dozens, heart-shaped boxes of confectionary treats, adorably cute stuffed animals, and elaborately wrapped (wink, wink) small boxes are given in abundance this day as an outward expression of love. But what if, on this day of kindness and generosity (in addition to, or in lieu of, traditional Valentine’s Day gift giving), love is shared in an unconventional manner…through the pages of a book? As a passionate literacy educator, I can think of no greater gift than one that promotes the joyful lifelong love of reading in children. Whether you gift a book to your own child or a neighbor, family member, friend, or complete stranger, you will single-handedly help to revise the state of literacy around the world.
Share the love of books…
“February 14th is about sharing the love of books!”
Most children in developing countries do not have a book to call their own, and sadly, right here in the United States, two-thirds of children living in poverty do not own a single book. Yet research consistently shows there is a strong, clear relationship between books in the home and the academic success of children. Regardless of how many books may already be in the home, each addition to the home library fosters heightened school achievement. There are many wonderful organizations that promote literacy at home and abroad, and provide opportunities to spread the love of reading to children throughout the year. But imagine the impact of millions of people joining together on a single day to place new or slightly used books into the hands of as many children as possible! It may be that the book you place into the hands of a child is the only book he or she will ever own… and that one act of kindness may make all the difference.
Share the love of books on a global scale…
“International Book Giving Day is aimed at increasing children’s access to, and enthusiasm for, books.”
International Book Giving Day originated in the UK five years ago, and the number of participants from around the globe has grown with each passing year. This volunteer-only annual initiative has a laser-sharp focus: to encourage people worldwide to make February 14th the day of giving books to children. It is noteworthy that countless beloved children’s authors have been strong proponents of this international literacy movement from the very beginning. Mem Fox, Ed Emberley, R.J. Palacio and Peter Reynolds are just a few who “jumped on board with both feet—donating valuable time, energy, and enthusiasm” to this endeavor (www.bookgivingday.com). Will you partner with me this Valentine’s Day and commit to placing at least one book into the hands of a child, and make their day a little sweeter?
The following are a few ways to get involved with International Book Giving Day:
- Place a book where children must wait, such as a doctor’s office, dental clinic, car repair shop or bus station.
- Donate a book to the playroom on the children’s floor/wing of a local hospital.
- Purchase a book, wrap it and have it delivered as a surprise to a child you know will be excited to receive it.
- Donate a book to your local library children’s department.
- Leave a book where a child will find it, with a message telling them it is your gift to them—a restaurant with a play area, a park, or some other child-friendly venue.
- Give a book your child has loved and outgrown to another family for their enjoyment.
- Share a book with a shelter for refugees/the homeless. Smaller books are ideal for ease of transporting.
- Provide a book to add to the house library at a local children’s home.
- Give a book to the Ronald McDonald Family Room at a local hospital.
- Present a specially chosen book to your own child/