Dust off those shelves—we've rounded up some easy ways you can promote children's literacy for International Book Giving Day on Sunday, February 14.
It's easy to take books for granted in the 21st century. Between the abundance of e-readers, audiobooks, and public libraries, consuming the written word has never been easier. Yet access to books is an entirely different story. Illiteracy remains a driver of socio-economic distress, and it's a problem that afflicts children all over the globe. According to the Literacy Project, 1 in 4 children in the United States grow up without learning how to read, while over 60 percent of low-income families possess no books in their homes.
But International Book Giving Day seeks to change that. It's celebrated on Sunday, February 14 and its mission is to get books into children's hands all over the world. Since kicking off in the United Kingdom in 2014, over 44 countries including the U.S. have adopted the cause of promoting children's literacy through volunteer efforts. If this resonates with you, we've rounded up a few easy ways you can get involved in your own community.
Courtesy of Little Free Library (Facebook)
Give a book
The message is simple: give a book to a child! A child could be anybody: a young niece or nephew, a cousin, a grandchild—any child who could use a good book. Share books with strangers by leaving them in a public space, like a waiting room or at a park. If you have a nearby Little Free Library, this would be the perfect place to pass on books for a child to discover, or you could even host a book swap with friends! When it comes to giving the gift of books, the sky really is the limit.
Courtesy of The Book Fairies (Facebook)
Support a charity
Give time or money to a charity of your choice. Countless nonprofits are working locally and nationally to get books out to low-income children and their families. First Book, Family Reading Partnership, and Dolly Parton's Imagination Library do amazing work in supplying vulnerable communities with reading materials. There are also plenty of charities abroad that need your support, like The Book Bus, which has delivered over 250,000 books by bus to children in Ecuador and Zambia. Here's a list of organizations to help you get started!
Courtesy of Pexels
Help your community
Donating money to a nonprofit is wonderful, but it doesn't have to be the only way to make an impact. Take a look at places around you that could use your help—does your local library need new books? How about hospitals, women's shelters, or soup kitchens? Lending a hand in your community can be empowering, and it really makes a difference for those in need. Of course, you'll want to check with the facility before off-loading your books, but the gesture will undoubtedly be appreciated by staff and recipients alike.
Courtesy of Pexels
Amplify this important cause on social media. Using the hashtag #bookgivingday, spread the word across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by reaching out to your friends and family digitally. Get creative by posting a selfie with your favorite novel or taking a "shelfie" of books on your bookshelf. Most of all, be sure to share this poster created for the event; you can post it on whatever social media platforms you use, or print it out and slip it inside a book (it makes the perfect bookmark!). Visit bookgivingday.com for more details.
How will you promote International Book Giving Day this year? Tell us in the comments, along with a must-read children's book recommendation.