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Do you love books? Do you have a bunch of them sitting on your shelf, collecting dust, in desperate need of a good read? You may want to consider being a book fairy!
“Book fairies” are people who hide books all over the world for others to find and then pass on. This gives old books a new lease on life and promotes book sharing. There are other book sharing programs like this one that encourage people to pass on books they don’t read as often in an effort to get people interested in books they may not otherwise read, promote reading and literacy, and raise awareness for book conservation in an increasingly digital world. I like book fairies specifically because they have a good reputation, an active social media presence, and a slew of amazing events and partners such as GoodReads! Even Emma Watson believes in book fairies! In June she hid 100 signed copies of “The Handmaids Tale” by Margaret Atwood and a special note from her to the folks who found the books all over Paris!
In order to become a book fairy you simply go to the Book Fairies site and buy the official book fairy stickers. Then you choose which books you’d like to release into the wild, place the sticker on the front, leave a note inside if you like, and “hide” them in plain sight for someone to find. The stickers have social media information and instructions to read and re-release the book. While you can simply leave your books and lovely note wherever you choose, the really fun thing about being part of the book fairies is that you are joining a community of people all over the world who are all sharing their books and you can use social media to see how widespread it really is. Who knows, maybe someone will find your book and post it!
When I first heard about The Book Fairies I was understandably excited. I am more than a little guilty of book hoarding and I was happy to be able to increase my good book karma by sending them back out into the world instead of letting them sit aimlessly on my shelf or waste away in the corner of a used bookstore. Not that I don’t love used bookstores, I do. I really do! But “normal” people, I’m told, usually come into a bookstore with a purpose and not just to peruse. I wanted to put some books people may not have read right under their noses.
After I got over my initial excitement, I started thinking. I actually did a lot of thinking. And the thought that weighed most heavily on my mind was not just about sharing a book or saving a book, it was about all the people who may need a book as much as the book needs them. I may not have had the easiest life, but it was about all the privilege I did have. I was so blessed to have a mum who dearly loved to read and shared that love with me. I never lacked a library card or access to tools that helped me expand my knowledge base. I want to share that blessing as much as I possibly can and I know that many of us take for granted how easily we can access literature.
For me, wanting to be a book fairy suddenly became about giving someone who may be in a different circumstance than myself, who maybe wasn’t raised with the same access I had, to simply walk past this book on the street… and have it. Use it. Love it for a while, and then pass that blessing on. Maybe they don’t even put it back onto a random street corner. Maybe they share it with a loved one, even a child. How many people has a book that I haven’t touched in a while reached at that point? How many times did someone feel just as lucky as I did the first time I held it? That, to me, was enough incentive.
So that was it for me. I ordered my official book fairy stickers. I made some book plates and bookmarks of my own to go with them sharing my Instagram and website, because I would also like to track these books I send out whenever possible, and see for myself who is loving them. Now I’ve set about my task of hiding books and being a book fairy, and I want to encourage you to do the same. Even if you don’t buy stickers. Even if all you do is drop a book at a local book share or hand it to a stranger on the train (that has happened to me before, by the way, and it totally made my whole week… so don’t be afraid) it is enough to make an impact. And while you are about your task, share it with me. Post on here. Tag me on Insta. I want to see all of the beautiful books that are traveling the world and celebrate with you.