February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day. It is also International Book Giving Day — a day dedicated to getting new, used, and borrowed books into the hands of as many children as possible.

Well known children’s authors from around the world including Mem Fox, Chris Haughton, Ed Emberley, Ed Vere, Peter H. Reynolds, Sandy Fussell, and many of our brilliant local children’s authors are giving books to children on February 14th and are encouraging others to do the same.

There are 3 simple ways that you can get involved:

1. Give a book to a friend or relative
Is there a child in your life who would enjoy receiving a book on February 14th? In lieu of or in addition to a card or box of chocolates, choose a good book from a bookshop or public library to give to your child, grandchild, friend, or neighbour.

2. Leave a book in a waiting room or lobby
Choose a waiting room where kids are stuck waiting and there are few to no good books available. Purchase a good book, and deposit your book covertly or overtly in your waiting room of choice. The goal here is to spread the love of reading to kids, so choose a fun book, nothing controversial.

3. Donate a book
Wrap up a box of children’s books that your kids have outgrown and get them into the hands of children who could really use a book or two.

International Book Giving Day is helping to bring books to the children all over the world that need them the most.  Organisations –  including Books for Africa, Room to Read and Reach Out and Read – work to get books into the hands of children in need, and every donation counts, whether it is monetary or giving new and used books.

Here in New Zealand we have two wonderful charities that help to get books to the children who need them most – KidsCan and Duffy Books in Homes.  To find out about what they do to help children you can visit their websites:

At bookgivingday.com you can register to support International Book Giving Day, download a gorgeous IBGD poster and print book plates to put in the books you give on the day, and find out about some of the authors and illustrators who have already pledged their support.