While we are enjoying some extra snuggle time with the Monkeys, we are so pleased to be able to bring you a series of posts from some of our favorite bloggers.
Today’s post comes to you from Jennifer of The Good Long Road. Jennifer and I are fellow members of Kid Blogger Network and Multicultural Kid Blogs, but I first became aware of her through Moms Fighting Hunger. Jennifer is incredibly dedicated to helping others, and a major focus of her blog is raising her children to do the same.
Therefore, it was natural that she should suggest writing her guest post on giving the gift of learning to children in need. Please consider getting involved with International Book Giving Day this February 14, using Jennifer’s suggestions below, and share the joy of reading.
Reading with my sons has to be one of my favorite things that we do together — and is one of their favorite things too. The benefits of these experiences are endless: quality time together, building literacy and reading comprehension skills from an early age, fostering a love for reading, sparking their imaginations, encouraging creative pretend play activities, etc. — the list goes on and on.
International Book Giving Day is February 14th and offers a wonderful opportunity to share the joys and benefits of books and reading with others — locally or globally. It is also a wonderful way to enhance your Valentine‘s Day celebrations for, in my mind, giving a book is a perfect way to show love – here is a list of Children’s Books About Love from Meme Tales that would be perfect Valentine Gifts — and many stores now have displays and discounts on Valentine/Love Books, so it is a great time to buy new books.
But, International Book Giving Day does not have to cost a dime, as there are many ways to donate your gently used books too. To get you inspired, I am sharing some rather simple ways you can participate in International Book Giving Day — locally or globally. If you get really inspired you could do both!
Giving Books Locally
Supporting your local community through book donations is easy. You can:
- Give a book to a family member or friend.
- Leave new or gently used book(s) at the waiting room of a clinic or dental or doctor‘s office in your community.
- Donate new or gently used book(s) to your local public library. (Many libraries sell used books, which then generates needed revenue for the library).
- Donate new or gently used book(s) to a local domestic violence shelter for mothers with children. (Always call ahead as shelters have strict rules and may require donations to be left at offices rather than at the shelters themselves).
- Be creative – our local coffee shop has an area where they keep books for kids, and we have left some of our gently used book(s) there so that other children can enjoy the books too. Look around and see if there are coffee shops or a church preschool room or other local opportunities to share your books.
We tend to do book donations like this on a semi-regular basis, which keeps a good flow of books coming in and out of the house, so that as the boys get new books from family members or friends or my regular yard sale hunts, we then give back and share some of our gently used books with others. It fosters a spirit of giving and sharing in our sons and raises them with an awareness of the value of the books and of not having an excessive amount of items at home (we do this with toys too).
Giving Books Globally
Giving books globally can often mean that you are providing a book or books for children who really need them, as in many parts of the world, sadly, books are at a premium and are not common items for children to have. Giving books to organizations that distribute books to children in other countries can also be a fun way to have an impromptu geography lesson. I know my 3 year-old loves maps, so he would love to look on the map and find the country that will be the new home for his book. Here are some ways to give books globally:
- Through We Give Books, children read books online and their reading efforts result in books being given to children in other countries.
- Based in the Atlanta, GA area and St. Paul, Minnesota, Books for Africa accepts book donations that they send to partners in Africa who ensure the books reach children who need them. If you are in those areas, you can drop books off at their warehouse locations. If not, you can mail the books. They do suggest a small monetary donation to assist them with the cost of shipping books to Africa, and their site clearly lays out what types of books they accept.
- Reach out to a local church – many churches have mission trips and/or other programs that involve giving educational materials, such as school supplies and books to children in need overseas, so ask around — you may not even realize that something like this is already happening in your local community.
- Donate financially – There are also many organizations that focus on giving books, but accept monetary donations, rather than book donations. Aside from Books for Africa, other organizations include Book Aid International (based in London) and Room to Read, which has branches and offices all over the world so it is easy to support this organization no matter where you live.
International Book Giving Day offers an opportunity for children to learn about the power of giving and share their love and joy for books with others — perhaps your child would love to get another copy of their favorite book(s) to give to another child.
Finally, I have one other cool idea for participating in International Book Giving Day for those of you who are Kindle lovers — if you, perhaps, received a new Kindle this holiday season, there is a U.S. program to donate old/used Kindles to troops serving overseas called E-Books for Troops, which would be another way to participate.
Please leave a comment letting us know how you are participating in International Book Giving Day and/or share your story here. If you are a blogger, consider adding the International Book Giving Day badge to your site. I hope many of you will also share information about the event with others – at our house, the joy of reading is definitely something we love sharing!
Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth and has run after-school programs through her company Generation Arts. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.