We spoke to Emma Perry, organiser of International Book Giving Day. Emma has been obsessed with books for as long as she can remember – a graduate of English Literature, she is also a teacher and the founder of the children’s book review website My Book Corner. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and The Golden Egg Academy.
- International Book Giving Day started nearly five years ago, and falls on Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February. Can you tell us a little bit about its conception and how you came to be involved in leading this initiative?
International Book Giving Day began in 2012, literally days before 14th February. It was the brainchild of Amy Broadmoore, and her son, who set in motion the idea of sharing the love of books on a day synonymous with love. Since then it has continued to capture book lovers’ hearts and minds, getting books into the hands of children across the globe. When Amy felt ready to step down, she asked if I would be willing to take the lead in 2014. I jumped at the honour, and haven’t looked back!
- What are the main focuses of IBGD and how can we contribute?
The focus of #bookgivingday is to reach out to children, and press books into their hands. In previous years this has taken the form of building new libraries, publishers donating books to children in hospital and carefully wrapped books being left for children to discover – think playgrounds, waiting rooms, etc. The only limit is your imagination! Feel free to contribute in any way you can: display our poster (see below), and share the love of books on #bookgivingday. Feel free to share your plans on social media too.
- What would you say is the foremost advantage of spreading the habit of book reading among children who are increasingly tech-literate?
There is nothing quite like the touch, feel and smell of a truly gorgeous book. Children’s books continue to do well – so they clearly agree!
- What is the most exciting aspect of coordinating an international initiative like IBGD? What is your biggest takeaway from the years you have been involved?
Each year I wait on tenterhooks for the #bookgivingday poster to appear, and by ‘appear’ I mean be created by a wonderful illustrator. We have been so lucky with the talented people who have jumped on board. Chris Haughton, Anna Walker and Marc Martin – to mention just a few – have so generously donated their time and creativity to #bookgivingday. The grand unveiling of the 2017 poster will take place in January. Subscribers to the website will be among the first to see it – it’s quite something!
- What are your three favourite books of all time, fiction and non-fiction?
My favourite books always change and shift as I discover exciting new tomes, so I may have to squeeze in more than three…
In non-fiction, I like Our World from the One Arm Point Remote Community School, plus The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha. In fiction, an all-time classic favourite would have to be Wuthering Heights, and then there are picture books. I adore picture books with cheeky humour – by Viviane Schwarz or Jon Klassen. I love picture books with great stories to tell, like Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon, Peggy by Anna Walker and The Journey by Francesca Sanna.