Books enliven our imaginations, improve our vocabulary, challenge our capacity to empathize, teach us knew things, and generally make us better people.
Did you know America has a PLETHORA of holidays that celebrate reading? One of many reasons I love this country.
Here are some literary holidays you too may be interested in adding to your calendar for an excuse to keep reading all year long:
Fourth Wednesday in January – Library Shelfie Day: Founded by the renowned New York Public Library. Participants arrange their book collection on a shelf, snap a picture and share on social media.
February 14 – Library Lovers Day: Honor your favorite library, librarian or bookworm.
March 4 – National Grammar Day: What would reading be without the understanding of grammar? Celebrate the day by using proper grammar all day.
March 8 – National Proofreading Day: Celebrate the pros who save every reader from distracting typos! Having spent four years as a proofreader, I can attest it is an often-undervalued skill.
March 14 – National Write Your Story Day: a.k.a. Write Down Your Story Day; celebrate by taking time to write down stories from your life that you want to pass on. Need a little help? I have a free download to get you started.
April 2 – International Children’s Book Day: Started in honor of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday to celebrate stories that spark the love of reading in children. Post your favorite kids book on social media and reminisce with others.
April 4 – School Librarian Day: Holla if you’re favorite day in school was library day! Show love to those hard-working librarians in schools across the country.
Second week of April – National Library Week: Look for activities at your local library, and take the time to thank your amazing librarians while you’re there.
April 10 – Encourage a Young Writer Day: Every writer has stories (and endless gratitude) for the people who first encouraged them to use that vivid imagination to write. Even if you are not a writer, you may know a young person with aspirations to be one. Take the day to encourage them to hone their skills.
April 12: D.E.A.R., short for “Drop Everything And Read Day”: founded in honor of Beverly Clearly’s birthday. The day is meant to encourage families to prioritize reading.
April 23 – National Talk Like Shakespeare Day: founded in honor of William Shakespeare’s birthday. If you can’t picture yourself using “thou” and “thee” in the normal course of the day, at least quote him. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” is one of my favorites (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
April 23 – World Book Day: annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
Last Saturday in April – Independent Bookstore Day: Buy a book (or several) from your favorite local shop and share about it on social media to give them extra attention.
April 27 – National Tell a Story Day: Whether you choose to read a favorite story to someone you love or swap childhood memories with friends, spend the day telling a story and hearing those of others. Use this free download to prompt someone to tell you about their life story.
May – National Get Caught Reading Month: If you’re going to get caught doing something, let it be reading! Managed by Every Child a Reader, the goal of this celebration is to promote the fun of reading for all ages.
Second Week of May – Reading Is Fun Week: The goal is very similar to Get Caught Reading, so it makes sense it would fall within May.
July 4-6 – National Tom Sawyer Days: Had to include this one. I grew up in the Hannibal, Mo., area, the setting of Mark Twain’s classic novel. Tom Sawyer Days is week-long celebration in Hannibal drawing people from all over the world, but you don’t need to travel to northeast Missouri to celebrate National Tom Sawyer Days. Pick up a copy of Tom Sawyer to remember why this novel still captures the imagination.
July 30 – Paperback Book Day: Did you know that books used to be bound with wood covers? The advent of the paperback has made books more affordable and portable … and all the book lovers cry Hallelujah! Spend the day reading or talking about your favorite paperback.
August 9 – Book Lovers Day: Need another reason to read your way through your lunch break? Here you go. This day is meant to celebrate the love of reading.
August 31 – We Love Memoirs Day: Established by two memoir writers to bring attention to the value memoirs play in capturing the stories of those who have gone before.
National Library Card Signup Month: If you don’t already have a card, there is no better motivation to get one.
Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month: Speaking as both an editor and writer, I contend one of the best ways to show them appreciation is with a well-written (and grammatically correct) note of thanks. Or any of these ideas.
September 6 – National Read A Book Day: This day invites everyone, not just book lovers, to take time out to read.
September 8 – International Literacy Day: Sponsored by the United Nations, this day “is an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges,” according to the UN’s website.
National Book Month: This celebration is meant for readers and writers. The National Book Award finalists are announced in mid-October, making this month the perfect time to highlight the value literature brings.
National Reading Group Month: A salute to reading groups everywhere.
October 16 – Dictionary Day: Commemorates the birthday of Noah Webster. Yes, as in the dictionary dude. By the way, we have Mr. Webster to thank for Americanizing the English language to make it “less complicated” than British English. Thank you, Mr. Webster.
National Novel Writing Month: Aspiring and established novelists hunker down to write the first 50,000 words of a new novel, and drink an unhealthy amount of caffeine in the process. It’s fun.
National Life Writing Month: The goal is to pen (you guessed it) your life story! Or perhaps the story of a loved one’s life. Again, here’s a free download to help get you started.
National Family Literacy Month: Gather the kids and spend part of your days reading together.
November 1 – National Authors Day: Celebrate your favorite author(s) by sharing their work with others.
November 15 – I Love to Write Day: Started by a writer to encourage all ages to express themselves through the written word.
November 18 – High Five a Librarian Day: A little something to show some extra appreciation to your favorite librarian.
Week of Thanksgiving – National Bible Week: Here’s an enduring truth in publishing: The Bible remains the best-selling book of all time. What’s more, much of literature, especially classic British and American literature, draws from sacred scripture. Yes, even Shakespeare did his fair share of borrowing. Celebrate this week by giving honor to the Story of all stories.
Read a New Book Month: Surprisingly, not in January.
December 7 – Letter Writing Day: Whether it’s penning a greeting for a Christmas card or a note of appreciation to your favorite author/librarian/bookseller/editor, use a portion of your day to write a personalized note to someone on your heart.
December 21 – Celebrate Short Fiction Day: Don’t have time to read an entire novel during the Christmas season? No worries. Find a short-fiction magazine or website to indulge in a good, succinct story.
December 24 – Jolabokaflod or the “Christmas Book Flood”: Technically this is not an American holiday. Rather, it is a incredible celebration that takes place in Iceland. Gifting physical books for Christmas is a national tradition, and Icelanders spend Christmas Eve reading their new books. It’s a tradition I wouldn’t mind seeing take hold in the U.S.
What new book is up next on your to-be-read list? What book are you most wanting to read right now?