We don’t do Valentine’s Day in our house. I’m all for love but I’ve never been a fan of being forced to demonstrate your feelings to order.
However, this year we will be spreading the love – albeit of literature – because 14 February is also International Book Giving Day.
The idea behind this event, which started in 2012, is simply to get books into the hands of as many children as possible. Did you know that most children in developing countries do not own books – and a third of British children do not either?
For me, reading and enjoying books is both a basic building block in raising a child and a human right. To know so many kids don’t have that access (especially with libraries under so much pressure) is incredibly worrying.
Taking part in International Book Giving Day is very easy. Participants are asked to do any of the following things (or all, if they wish):
1) gift a book to a friend or family member,
2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read,
3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organisation that distributes used books to children in need internationally.
You can also make a donation to a literacy-related charity such as Give A Book
We normally donate our spare books to one of the second-hand bookshops near us that operate to raise money for our local community-run libraries.
However, for this event we will be donating them to Lewisham Hospital’s Children’s A&E department, so lots of kids will have the chance to have some light relief during a tricky time.
You can find out more about International Book Giving Day on the website and also download special bookplates and bookmarks, designed by illustrator Elys Dolan, to hide inside the books you give. Head to bookgivingday.com