Does it ever happen to you to have a really good idea at the last minute or a bit too late? This just happened to me, but I’m still optimistic that with your help we might be able to pull this off! Let me explain…

You might have heard that February 14th is the International Book Giving Day. It’s a fantastic initiative and you can read more about it and the ways to participate here. Basically, as their slogan says, it’s a day dedicated to getting new, used and borrowed books in the hands of as many children as possible. Just hearing that and imagining a child with a book makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (and not just because when my children read they let me read, too, although it’s definitely an additional benefit!)

I love books and there are lots and lots of them around in my house: many are in active use, but then there are others that my children have definitely outgrown. I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about! This got me thinking: what if we added a little bilingual twist into getting those books in the hands of children? What if we sent a book that our children have outgrown to another child to boost his or her interest and skills in their minority language?

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say I heard of a Finnish-Spanish family living in Spain. It would probably be safe to assume that they would have access to a lot more books in Spanish than in Finnish and might appreciate receiving a book in their minority language. Living in Finland, I could easily pick a suitable one among the ones my children have outgrown and mail it to them. I would pay for the postage and I feel it would be a small price to pay to help out a fellow bilingual family. I could include a note that would link the book to the Book Giving Day and ask the family to one day pay it forward.

I’m excited and I hope this resonates with some of you! If it does, please contact me (annika@be-bilingual.net) and let me know if you’d be willing to mail a book to a child and in what language. At the same time you can also let me know where you live and in what language you’d like to receive a book OR, again thinking in the lines of random acts of kindness, enroll a bilingual family you know to receive a book in their minority language as a surprise. As I said, I’m a bit late with this idea, but if you can contact me by Friday, January 31st, we’ll still have 2 weeks before the book giving day – and I’m sure the children will be happy to receive a book even if it’s after the official day!

What do you think? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, suggestions for improvement, or any comments you might have!