DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Seven-year-old Jack Broadmoore of Duluth has dreamed up a unique way to share his love of reading with children around the world.
Last year, Jack, then a Congdon Elementary School kindergartner, hit on an idea to create his own holiday — Book Giving Day — piggybacking on Valentine's Day. He gave books to friends and convinced his grandparents to make gifts of books too.
What started as a small family tradition took on new proportions this year with the help of his mother, Amy Broadmoore, an avid blogger and passionate advocate for quality children's literature, the Duluth News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/xm1Kbh).
The Broadmoores decided to share Jack's Book Giving Day idea with the world, in hopes that it would inspire people to put new and used books into the hands of children.
They asked people to get involved in one of three ways:
—Give a new or used book to a child on Valentine's Day.
—Donate new or underused children's books to a good cause.
—Leave a good children's book or two in a waiting room.
While Amy Broadmoore can't be certain how many books were distributed because of her efforts, she heard from enthusiastic participants in Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, India, Ireland, Japan, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and, of course, the United States.
Jack said he hopes other children discover the same joys of reading he relishes.
"I like reading because it gives me ideas for writing stories, and I like writing. So it all fits together," he said.
The idea for improving waiting-room literature was spawned one day when Broadmoore was waiting with her children for a haircut, and she found only a couple of kids' books to read them.
"I was reading them aloud, and they were really bad. Then it hit me. Wouldn't it be a great thing if waiting rooms had better children's books?" she said.
This year, Amy Broadmoore posted news of Book Sharing Day on her blog on Feb. 4 and asked fellow bloggers to spread the word. Her efforts resulted in an additional 20 blog posts, reaching audiences in at least 14 countries around the world, she said. Zoe Toft, author of the popular British children's book blog, Papertigers, was among those who took up the torch.
"It kind of took over my life for the next 10 days," Amy Broadmoore said of the run-up to the big day.
"At first, Jack was not that excited, but once some of his favorite authors started getting involved, that really changed," Amy Broadmoore said.
Among the authors who lent their support to Book Giving Day were Judy Blume, Tomi Ungerer, Todd Parr, Clara Vulliamy, Katrina Germein, Viviane Schwarz and Barney Saltzberg.
Several organizations also promoted the event, including Book Aid International, Pratham Books, Pelican Post and The Book Bus.
The Broadmoores plan to build on their momentum next year, in hopes that Book Giving Day will become an even more widely recognized annual event.
Amy Broadmoore supports her son's decision to pair his own holiday with Valentine's Day, saying it's a good fit.
"Valentine's Day seems an appropriate time to commit small acts of kindness and acts of love," she said.
Jack said he believes many of today's young beneficiaries of Book Giving Day could well play a role in its future.
"If they turn into good readers, they would probably be inspired to give books to other people, too," he reasoned.
Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthsuperior.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.