As we count down to International Book Giving Day on 14th February, we asked Emma Perry, its organiser and the founder of MyBookCorner, to answer a few questions for us.
What is International Book Giving Day?
Great question! The aim of International Book Giving Day is, quite simply, to get books into the hands of as many children as possible across the world. And it all takes place on Valentine’s Day – the idea being to share the love of books on a day already synonymous with love. Currently, I have over 47 countries taking part – from Nigeria to Russia, from Budapest to New Zealand – the day has grown and grown.
When did it start… and why?
It all started back in 2012, literally a few days before Valentine’s Day. The son of Amy Broadmoore, an American book blogger, told his mum that they should be sharing the love of books on the 14th February. The idea was sown, Amy gathered some people from across the globe, Viviane Schwarz designed the very first logo… and they were off.
A lot of people were involved from the very beginning, and they ensured it got off to a flying start. You can read about them here. Without their vision and energy, International Book Giving Day wouldn’t be what it is today.
How did you get involved?
Meanwhile, over in Melbourne, Australia I had just set up my book website, My Book Corner, and was spending WAY too much time on Twitter. That’s where I discovered BookGivingDay – popping
up on my newsfeed. What better way to spend 14th February? Forget overpriced roses, it’s ALL about the books!! I immediately asked Amy what I could do to help. I quickly spread the word in Australia, firing out press releases to anyone who would listen.
Momentum was gathering, the word was spreading – the absolute highlight being when Scholastic walked into the Melbourne’s Children’s Hospital on BookGivingDay, and personally handed out books to every child staying there. A huge moment.
By the following year Amy was ready to move on and asked me to take on sole responsibility for BookGivingDay. I answered with a huge yes and a sense of trepidation. How could I make sure this day grew?
In 2013 I took over the reins. A key feature of our campaign are our posters, bookmarks and bookplates from some very talented and generous illustrators.
There are posters designed by Chris Haughton, Elys Dolan and Ben Newman, bookmarks from Marc Martin, Anna Walker and Tim Budgen. All are available for free on
the website, ready for people to download, print and attach to books they are giving on the 14th February.
Our most recent poster has been designed by Sanne Dufft, it’s beautiful, and I’m incredibly grateful.
What happens on the actual day?
Well, we now have over 44 countries now taking part – and they’ve achieved so much. Libraries have been set up in South Africa. Last year, book fairies were wandering the streets in Nigeria and Canada handing out books. There were treasure hunts in Turkey and Basingstoke, and book collections for a shelter in the Maldives. Russia really embraced it last year, and for this year – all 85 regions of their country are taking part. The Russian State Children’s Library have really got behind International Book Giving Day.
How do people get involved?
There is no limit to the imaginative ways you can give books! Obviously, the caveat this year, is to ensure that it can be done safely. I strongly believe, however, that now more than ever children need access to those books. Libraries might be harder to get to in some areas, some children may not be in school – lots of opportunities for books, for some, are not there for them at the moment.
Please do tag us on social media, use #bookgivingday and we will find you. I can’t wait to see what you do!!
Happy Book Giving Day everyone!
Emma Perry can be found either writing books, reading them, teaching them or gifting them! It’s always been that way. In fact, her first two picture books (I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End & This Book Has Alpacas and Bears) are about… yep, books.