It’s nearly that time of year again! It’s easy to tell there are less than three weeks to go, because my house looks like I’m preparing for a bookfair! Boxes and piles of books everywhere, bags of cuddly toys and old pillow cases in a messy halfway-to-storysack kind of place, scribbled to-do notes on post-its on piles.
I have Plans! It’s fair to say there has been an element of plotting!
So what is International Book Giving Day? And how can I join in?
IBGD is a day to spread the joy of books and get a book into the hands of a child. As simple as that. There are so many ways you can join in. You could:
1. Give a book to a child.
Your child, a child in your family, a kid you see in your street or on your regular bus trip. Whoever you want.
It doesn’t have to be a new book, you don’t even have to spend any money – why not take a child to the library and spend some time sharing books together? The idea is to share the love of books with a child and to encourage them to pick up a book themselves.
2. Leave a book in a waiting room.
Choose a waiting room where kids are stuck waiting- the doctor’s or dentist’s, or a children’s centre perhaps. You can leave it covertly or overtly, and again, it doesn’t need to be a new book, it could be one your children have grown out of, or picked up from a charity shop.
3. Donate a book.
Wrap up a box of children’s books that your kids have outgrown and get them in the hands of children who could really use a book or two. Donate your books to your local charity shop, library, children’s hospital, nursery or shelter. Alternatively, donate your books to an organization already working to get books into the hands of kids. *Cough* A library targeting children from deprived areas perhaps? *cough cough send me your books cough cough*
4. Donate your time.
Help children at a local school learn to read and grow up to love books. It could genuinely change their lives – and yours! See Polly’s brilliant piece on Beanstalk reading support.
Whatever you do, know that you are making a difference.
If you choose to give books you can print out this gorgeous poster here, and illustrated bookplates and bookmarks to pop inside your books. It all adds to the fun. There will be more designs published on the IBGD site in the next couple of weeks, so keep looking. Follow @bookgivingday to keep up to date.
‘A library targeting children from deprived areas, you say? Tell us more.’
Oh, did I mention that? Well, as you ask….
For International Book Giving Day last year I set up the first Rainbow Library. Nearly a year on there are now three functioning Rainbow Libraries and I have boosted two classrooms and a school library with quality, new and inclusive books. I have had so much support and am so very grateful. Together we have managed to reach a whole heap of children. Hundreds! Isn’t that incredible?
The first library was started in a nursery. All the children, 30+ of them, got a brand new book to take home for World Book Day and had daily access to the library. Over the summer the majority of them left for school and now a group of new children – dots with blankets – have come in and they all have access to the library. The second library was started in September and, thanks to Gem, is already reaching about 40 children. The school I have been supporting has about 370 children. The additional books for reception classrooms and the school library will be available to every single one of them. And the third library... Well that one is a community library so its reach isn’t easily measurable. But I’ll be keeping an eye on it and seeing where the books go and what I can do to make it more effective and reach further.
That’s a lot of children to reach in one year. It’s definitely working! All the books that you have donated, all the retweets and shares of blog posts, all the good wishes and cheers of support, they are all adding up to kids having access to books. And that is a very wonderful thing. Thank you!
So in three weeks we celebrate IBGD again, and the first anniversary of The Rainbow Library. I have pondered, plotted and prepared. I have looked at all three libraries, at what is working and what needs to change. I’m hoping that I can give them all a boost and make sure that they are all reaching the children they need to be. Gem has shown me that it is absolutely achievable to reach every single child. That’s what I want to do across all the libraries and aim to extend into the school.
Want to help?
Go help a child! Join in with IBGD or do something in the spirit of the day. Getting kids reading, sharing and enjoying books is my thing. If you join in with that, you’ll be making a difference. Let’s change the world one child at a time!
Of course I won’t say no to books for The Rainbow Library and they can be sent directly to Library 2, here:
The Rainbow Library
Fairlight Primary School
St Leonards Road,
But the main thing I hope you take away from reading this is that books make a difference to children’s lives. A huge difference. And you can help that happen.
So, Team Rainbow, Let’s Do This!!