#bookgivingday in South Africa – a Guest Post

se7en, a mum of 7 children living in Cape Town, South Africa has been an active participant in #bookgivingday since its conception.  6 libraries. Yes, 6! libraries have been created thanks to her tireless efforts at this time of year. This is her story…

We are so excited that International Book Giving Day will be back with us next week. Every year for the past couple of years we have, with the help of our blog followers, created a library for children in desperate need of one. We started really small with a library for rural kids in Lesotho, and then a township school community library; a library in a community centre; a library for a school in need; and last year a library for a school with no books. Each year the project grows and each year book by book our blog followers from all over the world join us and donate books.

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One of the advantages of folk shopping online is that they can shop for books in one of our local online shops and so buy books for children in their own language. In a country with eleven official languages this is quite an advantage.

When you are creating a library for children with a unique background, it is critical that they get a wide variety of books to explore and some of those have to be books that they can relate to personally.

We ask folk to either buy or mail their gently used books to the school. We want the books to be in fabulous condition, a gift that shines and inspires. This is not the time to clean out your shelves and to get rid of all your old beaten up books, much as your children might have loved those ones. These children have very little that is good in their lives and the idea is that they are inspired by their book gifts.

Each gift of a book is so much more than “just a book” a book contains a dream and could be the thing that sparks a child to reach further and dream bigger.

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Last year we chose to help a school in one of Cape Towns most gangster ridden, high crime areas… an area where living conditions are desperate and unemployment the norm, and every kind of abuse and violence prevails in a culture of frustration. Children cannot play outside for safety sake, there are no lovely grassy patches to play on… school is really their safe haven. This school had made it onto the list of schools in most need and had been allocated new school buildings, with a large secure room in the centre of it, where children could turn to for safety when gang warfare got out control. This central building was chosen to be a library, and the walls had bookshelves around the edges. Unfortunately, the project funding stopped at that – there were no books to be found. How disheartening is that? A library with no books in it and a place where the children spent a lot of time together. We challenged our readers to fill the book shelves and over a period of a month or two and book by book the shelves were filled. Our followers went beyond the call of duty.

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To showcase the school and keep it top of our followers thoughts we blog about the project for a couple of weeks. We get to see the state of their present library as we begin the project and then ask teachers to interview the children. Do the children have a favourite book, or a favourite character, we ask then about their hopes and dreams… place they would like to visit. For many of these children, that live in the heart of the City of Cape Town, a city surrounded by the ocean, they have never been to the seaside and yet they can dream of exploring the world. How much richer would those dreams be if they were inspired by good stories. The life experience of the children is limited to what is immediately available to them and books could quite simply open up the world for them.

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There is a time during every project that we lose heart and think the books might not be rolling in fast enough and what if after all the promotion and the call for books none arrive. And yet somehow the books do roll in, one or two at time arrive and they slowly but surely become a library. Most of the books get delivered directly to the school, but friends dropping by tend to drop books off too and we pop them into boxes in the garage. Last year on delivery day we hauled all the boxes out of the garage and we took piles and piles of books across the city, well over a thousand books were delivered and shared with the children it was quite a magical experience, there were tears on both sides. I think the point is, a gift of one or two books really does add up to a library in a very short time and book by book we can change lives through an event like International Book Giving Day. We are so excited for International Book giving Day next week, when we will be launching our new library project.

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Are you ready?

Generous people across the globe are gearing up for next Tuesday, #bookgivingday

Your stories are beginning to flood in, and we are overwhelmed – as always – by your wonderful stories of book giving.

Megan Daley (Children’s Book Daily), a most wonderful School Librarian in Queensland, Australia, has made sure her library is ready. Doesn’t it look inviting?

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In Walthamstow, UK, Geraldine Grandidier and Ruth Duncan are gift-wrapping their books ready for #bookgivingday – they even made the local newspaper. Read about them here.

The Village Cafe on Collins, (Queensland, Australia) has reported local children’s authors Celia Berrell, Diane Finlay, Kay Crabbe and Trude Trewin are getting ready.

Gibraltar are getting involved in a HUGE way for the first time this year, thanks to The Story Teller.

There are plenty of giveaways on Twitter – just search #bookgivingday

To be featured, remember to share your photos using #bookgivingday … we will find you!

In the meantime, don’t forget you can print and download these bookmarks to tuck into the books you plan to gift next Tuesday, 14th February.

Bookmarks for #bookgivingday 2017

It’s not long to go now until #bookgivingday, 14th February 2017. This is your chance to help get books into the hands of as many children as possible. Sharing the love of books on a day synonymous with love – what could be better??

To help you on your way, Marianne Dubuc – creator of the 2017’s official poster – has also created these beautiful bookmarks. Tuck them into the books you plan to give on #bookgivingday – they look amazing don’t they?!

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Bookmarks – Click here to download printable version  – PDF

Don’t forget to share your plans on social media, using the #bookgivingday hashtag.

Coming Soon:

  • Translated version of the 2017 #bookgivingday poster

2017 Poster Reveal

We’ve been bursting at the seams to unveil this year’s magnificent poster. Every year I’m floored by how generous illustrators are with their time and commitment to this project – it means the world to us. It really does.

So here it is, in all it’s glory. The 2017 International Book Giving Day poster created by Marianne Dubuc, what an honour to have the fabulous lion and bird characters championing #bookgivingday.

#bookgivingday 2017 Poster - Marianne Dubuc

(Click here to download printable version PDF)

Hugest thanks to Marianne Dubuc. Marianne has written and illustrated many books for children which have been translated into more then 20 languages. She is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed The Lion and The Bird, plus Here Comes Mr Postmouse and Mr Postmouse Goes on Holiday (March 2017). She was born and lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Isn’t this year’s #bookgivingday poster magnificent?! We can wait to see where it pops up! Download it, print it and display it proudly – this is a poster that deserves to been seen!

Tweet us your pics of your posters in the wild using #bookgivingday

Coming soon:

  • bookmarks and bookplates from Marianne Dubuc, ready to put into the books you plan to give on #bookgivingday
  • translated versions of the poster

How To Get Involved

You’ve heard about International Book Giving Day. You love the idea. You’ve got some great quality books. What next?

This fabulous infographic has been created by Jo Ebisujima – Jojoebi, one of the IBGD team, to help you solve that very quandary.

Share your plans on social media using #bookgivingday

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