Reading is one of life’s simplest loves: it doesn’t require reciprocation. It inspires, educates and stimulates, and almost guaranteed to last a lifetime – and it can easily be shared with others.
International Book Giving Day is marked in 44 countries around the world, every year on 14 February – including in South Africa. Conceived by children’s book publisher Amy Broadmoore in 2012, with the aim of getting new, used, and borrowed books into the hands of as many children as possible.
It’s about providing access to entertainment, knowledge, inspiration, insight, escape and imagination for anyone who may not have access to as many books as a book lover would – and it’s no coincidence that it falls on Valentine’s Day. International Book Giving Day celebrates the love of reading, the love of books – and the chance to share that love with a fellow human.
Gifting a Book Unlocks World of Reading
Most children in South Africa leave Grade 1 without knowing the alphabet, while 82% of Grade 4 – the worst ability for their age in the world, according to the 2030 Reading Panel. South Africa ranked last out of 57 countries assessed in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which tested the reading ability of 400 000 students globally in 2021.
Think of the opportunity you’re presenting to someone by giving them access to books – you’re improving their language and comprehension skills, helping them make sense of the world around them and setting them up for a future of endless possibilities.
Gifting a Book is Thought-Provoking
A book gifted with intent can help explain to someone how you see the world – or offer them another perspective that will make them think. You can debate the book and its ideas together, sparking conversation, bringing people together and sharing knowledge, history, culture and experiences. It’s not about ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, but rather about opening up avenues of debate that could help solve challenging problems.
Gifting a Book Tells People About You
Agonising over the right book to give as a gift is exquisite – wanting to share something that stirred your emotions or changed your view of the world is a way of sharing a piece of yourself with another person. Gifting them your favourite book gives them an insight into what inspires you, what excites you, and tells them about your history.
The gift of a book can express love; show affection; convey sympathy; say sorry; act as a token of appreciation; a special keepsake; honour a special occasion or just make someone smile. They’ll likely keep it for a long time – if not forever – and it’ll always remind them of you. Surely that’s better than some cheesy fake rose on Valentine’s Day?
Gifting a Book Open Up Little Minds
Reading stories, tales, fables and facts does more for kids than simply help them develop essential cognitive skills - they stimulate their imaginations and expand their understanding of the world. Reading helps kids improve their emotional intelligence by enhancing their moral and emotional development.
Books teach them about their heritage; introduce them to new places; encourage their creativity; promote thought, contemplation & discussion; expand their vocabularies and nurture those fertile imaginations.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has 13 Beneficiaries that help promote the sharing of books and the love of reading – from help2read to Shine Literacy and The Link Literacy Project – all of which MySchool Supporters can nominate and donate to their important work – at no cost – with every swipe. “Of all the challenges that face South Africans – which our Supporters and Partners help our Beneficiaries tackle every month, literacy is one of the most important,” says Pieter Twine, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager. “Improved education delivers better skills, which delivers solutions; which help our country thrive – and it all starts with literacy”.