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Move over Valentines, International Book Giving Day, here we come!


We all know that February 14th is Valentine’s Day, but probably far less of us are aware that it’s also International Book Giving Day. Never heard of it? Well, despite being in its sixth year, I put my hands up and say that neither had I until a few weeks ago. And it’s music to my ears. Having never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day (why we need a special day each year for a global outpouring of love and affection has always been beyond me), I salute the organisers of Book Giving Day for transferring the sentiment over to books. This year’s poster has been designed by Marianne Dubuc, creator of the fabulous children’s book, The Lion and the Bird.

Interested in getting involved? Ok, so there’s lots of info + resources on the International Book Giving Day site, (including some wonderful bookmarks, bookplates + posters to download for free) but in a nutshell, here’s the idea:

Very simply, it has been created in order to get books into the hands of as many children as possible. But the kids I know have plenty of books! I hear you cry. This may be so, but here are some sobering facts:

  1. The vast majority of children living in developing countries do not own a single book.
  2. In the US, two thirds of children living in poverty do not own any books.
  3. In the UK, a third of children have no books.


Illustration from A Child of Books by Sam Winston & Oliver Jeffers

On the 14th February, we are all invited by this initiative to simply give a book to a child. It doesn’t even have to be a child you know (though of course it can be); it could involve donating a book to a children’s hospice, or leaving a book in a waiting room for a child. The options are endless.

From my end, I have organised through the school my kids go to here in Nairobi for a box to be placed in each classroom on February 14th and for children to bring in books from home. We will then collect all the donations and give them to a children’s home outside Nairobi. Books here in Kenya are expensive (particularly good quality books) and libraries all but non-existent. Living in Kenya for the past four years has made me more grateful than ever for the network of incredible public libraries that span the length and breadth of my native UK.

So, what are you going to do for International Book Giving Day? Be creative, be inventive, and be kind.

Books have the power to change lives, and your gift of a book may just set in motion one of the most enthralling journey of a young person’s life. ♥︎


Illustration from The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

If you enjoyed this blog post, compliment it with reviews of 2 books my daughters insisted I HAD to read; Fighting back against Kenya’s alleged ‘non-reading’ culture & Why reading aloud to older kids is not just special, it’s vital.

Not read my latest novel yet, The Girl and the Sunbird? Here’s what some reviews from Amazon are saying about it:

‘This is a poignant, heart-wrenching, impactful story that I won’t soon forget.’

‘I envy anyone who is still to read this.’

‘It’s one of those books that weaves itself into your soul and stays with you long after you reluctantly read the last page.’

‘A brilliant book, an epic story, this book deserves to be read by everyone.’