February 14th is not just about hearts and flowers and chocolates (although those are all good things). It has become a day for giving books to children, with International Book Giving Day. According to their website’s “about” section, “in 2012, International Book Giving Day was celebrated by people in Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, India, Ireland, Japan, the Phillippines, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.”
People who participate can give one book or many books. They can give to someone they know, or to a hospital, a shelter, a doctor’s office — or to an international group such as Room to Read, Books for Africa, The Book Bus, or one of the other groups listed on the International Book Giving Day site. Miranda Paul, a fellow children’s book writer, is involved in a project called One Million Books for Gambia which is another excellent way to reach out with books to kids who otherwise don’t have access to books. It’s up to each person to decide where or to whom they want to give a book or books.
I’ve been planning to take some picture books to the local children’s rehab hospital. When I mentioned that in an earlier post, one of my readers reminded me that not all the children in children’s hospitals are picture book age. Older kids, even teens, are patients in these hospitals. They need books, as well. Parents who have to spend long hours in waiting rooms appreciate reading material too. My batch of books now includes Mandy, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, The Phantom Tollbooth, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, as well as the picture books.
I hope you’ll consider joining the impressive list of writers, illustrators, and others who will be giving a book (or books) on February 14th.