Monday 15 January 2018

Confessions of a Book Lover #bookgivingday

I love books. Nay, dare I say it? I adore books. Books, books and more books. They have provided me with a refuge from the real world, comfort in times of need, inspiration when my heart was tired, encouragement when the going was tough, lessons when I needed them most, and whole worlds to imagine and explore.

My house is full of books. So many books I actually took time this week to clean out my stash of cherished vintage fabrics to free up more space for books. Because when the choice is between books and fabric, the books win. Actually there have been times when the choice has been between books and groceries, the books win (please don't judge me, my children don't starve I just place huge importance on feeding their souls). As a result both my children love books.

So I am a huge advocate of #BookGivingDay. What better way to encourage a love of books than to gift them to others - especially children.

Art work by Elys Dolan Facebook Twitter Instagram
International Book Giving Day is aimed at increasing children's enthusiasm for books and their access to books. It's that simple. One the 14th of February, #bookgivingday, people from Nepal, India, Canada, South Africa, UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Nigeria, Fiji, Czech Republic, USA, Cambodia, Hungary, Philippines and Romania. The many ways to share a book are limited only by your imagination. In 2014 Scholastic Australia went to the Melbourne Children’s Hospital and gifted a book to every child. Books have been sent to child refugees in Calais, France; a new library was created in Cape Town, South Africa; in Uganda the Mpambara-Cox Foundation gifted books to children, for many it was the first time they have been given a book of their own.

So may I please encourage you to gift a book to a friend or family member, leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organisation that distributes used books to children in need internationally.

My children have grown up in a world surrounded by books. There are so many books piled throughout our house (as mentioned in a previous blog post) we are running out of places to keep them.

I count myself as truly fortunate that my oldest is an avid reader who would rather chew through books than actual food (and I mean that literally). My youngest adores picture books and adventure stories but prefers to be read to. The reason? Reading has not come easily to her. She says "it's too hard to see all the pictures in my head if I have to figure out the words too", which I completely understand.

And here is the confession. I have not always been an avid reader or appreciator of books. In fact I found learning to read very difficult and confusing. I remember sitting in remedial reading groups struggling to sound out words and make sense of all their scribbly secrets. I remember a teacher who would cover the pictures so I couldn't 'make up' a story. She made me read and I hated it. So please donate a book to a child who may never have held a book so they can unlock the secret we are so fortunate to take for granted.

PS. I still read to my daughter and I will continue to read to her for as long as she needs - and the bonus? When my son hovers on the edges of the room quietly drawing near so he can listen too.