Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night 2012

This afternoon I will be functioning as a "book giver" for World Book Night. Actually, I try to be a "book giver" all the time: sharing books with friends, family, all of you here on the blog. But today is especially meaningful.

As a "book giver" I will be targeting people who are NOT avid readers already. I've chosen a school to visit at dismissal time to hand out my books, which are THE BOOK THIEF. I hope that these books can make a difference for at least one of the young people I share them with.

But taking part in this project also reminds me of the important things each and every one of us can do EVERY day. Learning to love to read should happen when we're very young. I remember to this day my mother reading to me, my teachers reading to me, librarians reading to me, babysitters...Reading was a special time - a fun time - and that's how I learned to love reading. Today reading is still a special time in my day. Something I look forward to.

So, I thought I'd take a few minutes to compose of list of things each of us can do to encourage reading every day:

1. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read to your children. Make time. It is the most valuable time you can give them. Turn off the televisions and video games and computers and READ to your children. When they're old enough, let them read to you. But make a special time that you share together to read.

2. You don't have to be a parent to read to children. Read to your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, children you babysit, volunteer to read at story hour for your library or local bookstore, volunteer to read at your local school, a hospital, a nursing home or a homeless shelter.

3. Model the behavior. Show your children you value reading by READING. Don't sit in wonder as to why your children don't love reading if they never see you doing it. Read the newspaper, magazines, books, just read. Again, turn off the televisions, the video games, the computers, the smart phones...if you have time for those, you have time to read. It's about making reading a priority.

4. Give books as gifts. When you give someone a book as a gift, you're saying to them, I think this is special and I want you to have it. Wrap your books in the prettiest papers you can find. Embellish them with ribbons and bows. For a friend's baby shower, we asked every invitee to bring their favorite children's book. I made bookmarks with book quotes and each person signed one, placed it in their book and put the book in a clothes basket we bought. She had a ready-made library for her twins before they were even born. It was her favorite gift.

5. Support your libraries and local book stores. Don't take these places for granted. Many of our nation's libraries need your help in supporting legislation to keep them open. Use your libraries and stand up for them as well.

6. Talk about books! Talk about books with your children, your colleagues, your friends. Spread the word about good books you've read. Instead of talking about American Idol or Dancing with the Stars over the water cooler, how about talking about the latest Hurwitz, Conroy or Picoult. While I was having a pedicure the other day, I had the greatest book conversation with the lady next to me and both of our pedicurists. It was wonderful!

7. Display your books. Keep them out where people can see them, touch them, READ them. Leave books in your guest room for visitors. Be proud of your love of books and show that by making them a loving part of your home. And for goodness sake, have books your kids can touch and read. If you have small children, leave board books in a place they can get to them. Books were written to be read. Don't treat them like museum pieces. If that's what they are, leave them in the museum and buy books you can read!

O.k. your turn. Add to my list. What else can we do to encourage a love of reading each and every day?


Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

Another great post Jen. I, too, will be a book giver today (handing out I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings to random people on the city street at lunch time).

I have already received one hug today for giving out the book. Such a simple gesture can really reach people on the most basic level.

And yes, please people, turn off the electronics and read, if only for a half-hour every day. You won't regret it.


George April 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM  

Great post Jen. And good advice...particularly reading to children and showing them by example how important and fun reading can be!

Rhonda H. April 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM  

I love this, Jen. Thanks for posting, and I am so excited for you to be giving away this book. The city I live in just lost funding for a teen center which supported a reading program through grant monies. Several of us in Rossville are donating money and books to help out kids in our community. It's so important to share our love of reading. Thanks for all that you do :)

bermudaonion April 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM  

Fantastic post, Jen! We need to practice what we preach every day.

Into The Ring With Tolstoy April 23, 2012 at 4:52 PM  

Such a wonderful event to be a part of.

Smallgood April 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM  

These are great tips. Thanks for posting. Found your site when searching for other bloggers giving books for WBN.

Naomi Johnson April 23, 2012 at 7:13 PM  

Great post, Jen. I didn't participate in Book Night, but today my nearly-two great-niece and I went to the "liberry" to return books and borrow more. We came home with a sackful, as usual. There are times when she won't leave home without one of her favorite books. This May, I'll be getting some training from our local library's Ready To Read program, so I'll be equipped to do more for her.

BLB April 25, 2012 at 9:18 AM  

I think it is important to be seen reading. Anytime I have an appointment where I may be waiting for awhile, dentist, medical, hair salon, etc., I take a book with me. It passes the time and maybe encourages others to do the same.

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