International Book Giving Day
Every year on February 14th, International Book Giving Day strives to reach one goal. This goal is to get books into the hands of as many children as possible. The volunteer initiative also seeks to increase children’s access to and enthusiasm for books.
When most people see the date, February 14th they automatically think of Valentine’s Day. However, there is another way to share the love on this day. You can share the love of books with a child who may not have any. It might be hard to fathom that in this modern age, there are still children who do not own a single book. Many children in developing countries don’t have books. This is also the case in the United States. About two-thirds of American children living in poverty do not have any books.
Why do children need books? Consider these reasons:
- Reading books aloud to children helps to create an emotional bond.
- Books help children develop basic language skills.
- Books demand children to think and help them come up with new ideas.
- They help children develop critical thinking skills.
- And they expand the worlds of children.
- Books create and answer questions.
- They have a way of providing comfort, companionship, and entertainment.
For these reasons and many more, every child should have their own books.
History of Book Giving Day
Whether you want to admit it or not, you probably enjoy giving and receiving gifts. There is no denying the special moment when you receive a wrapped package and get to find out what’s inside. Or, as the gift giver, when you get to watch someone you love as they smile opening your present. This day is devoted to instilling a lifelong love of reading, especially in children, and providing books for children in need.
This day originally started in the United Kingdom. However, over the years the day has spread and book lovers around the world now partake in the celebrations. The holiday was started by Amy Broadmoore and her son, through Delightful Children’s Books, who conceived the original idea in 2012, after noticing a need for books for children in underfunded areas. The mother-son duo then worked with Zoe Toft to develop the day. After creating the event and working on developing celebrations and incentives, they passed the day over to Emma Perry in 2013, who currently runs the day’s website. The site defines the day as a “100% volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books.”
While Book Giving Day does not host large organized events, they instead encourage volunteers to act out of their own goodwill. Volunteers, or holiday celebrators, are encouraged to gift a book to a child. This book can be your favorite book, one you haven’t read, or one you think a child would love. This day is now celebrated officially in over 44 countries, with countries participating in six out of the seven continents!
Benefits of Books
Through plenty of research studies, scientists have proven the benefits of both books and out loud reading to people of all ages, but especially for children. One of the biggest benefits is the bond formed from reading. Children are often shown to form warmer and stronger emotional bonds to those that read books to them. By creating a ritual of reading to your child, you can create a strong bond and instil lifelong memories for them.
In addition to the emotional benefits, books also provide children with psychological and cognitive benefits. Books, more than any other form of media, are shown to be the most fundamental on kid’s language development. Children that are encouraged to read develop larger vocabularies at a quicker rate. Books are also shown to develop a child’s critical thinking. When books are read by just the child, (either alone out loud or in their head) they can develop stronger critical thinking skills and develop social cues and emotional intelligence. A child’s imagination is also nurtured when they can experience different worlds through the lens of a book.
Books don’t only have benefits for children, they have benefits for all ages. Regular readers are proven to have higher social-emotional intelligence, quicker decision-making times, and better self-expression and vocabulary. Books can give us better moral and ethical views and can challenge our ideas on the world (and expand them). Reading gives us knowledge, creates questions, answers them, and offers a great escape– regardless of age!