Sacramento’s indie bookstores prep for International Book Giving Day on Feb. 14

Sue Richards, co-owner of Crawford's Books in Sacramento, poses with one of her favorite titles. Photograph by Scott Thomas Anderson

Next week, literature fans around the world will give a nod to the cerebral stimulation and emotional journeys that comes through the simple act of reading, all while putting a big emphasis on making sure that books remain a force in childrens’ lives.

In Sacramento, devoted page-turners may also use the occasion to support their favorite independent bookstore. The region has several great neighborhood options on that front.

International Book Giving Day is a volunteer effort that was started in 2012 after studies indicated that one thing that disadvantaged children have in common from California to Indonesia is not owning a single book. Emma Perry, who’s part of review site My Book Corner, launched International Book Giving Day to inspire people across the globe to donate books to kids.

Perry and her supporters suggest doing this by leaving a book for a child to discover, or donating a book to a local charity with the same mission. For more specific tips, visit the official website. Essentially, it’s a kind of Big Day of Giving around the written word. The action happens now every February 14th. Similar to Big Day of Giving, International Book Giving Day will see people in more than 44 counties connecting with each other via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #bookgivingday.

Given that the event involves procuring books, it’s a perfect occasion for visiting the area’s array of unique, family-owned bookstores. Each has its own character and book specialty, and each is fitted with enough curated selection that fans likely won’t just grab a few titles to share with children – they’ll also grab some tomes to haul back home.  

Sue Richards, co-owner of Crawford’s Books in Sacramento, loves the idea behind International Book Giving Day. Her spacious, tidy, well-lit and well-organized store off Freeport Boulevard has countless titles for those getting in on the action.

“Books have always been a favorite item of mine to give as a gift, finding just the right book for that special person,” Richards said. “Children’s books are especially popular at Crawford’s Books because the gift is both the book and the planting of seeds for a lifetime love of reading.”

Just across the region, in El Dorado Hills, the team at Face in a Book is also getting excited for the day. Face in the Book has been hosting author events for years, particularly ones geared for children, students and younger adults. The store’s selection in that genre is extensive. Its manager, Janis Herbert, hopes those dropping by to support child literacy also checkout what the store offers in terms of giving books to friends their own age – or just giving a book to themselves.

“If you’re looking for a perfect book to share, here at Face in a Book some of the most popular titles lately include Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library,” Herbert observed. “But, of course, the best book to give is one that means a lot to you.”

Other independent bookstores in the Capital Region include Beers Books, Time Tested Books, The Avid Reader, Capital Books on K and Underground Books in Sacramento, as well as Ruby’s Books in Folsom and The Avid Reader at Davis.

Herbert believes that going into any of these indie stores, as opposed to cracking the laptop for an online giant, will cultivate better memories around International Book Giving Day. She notes that, to the stores’ dedicated staffs, honoring books is a way of life. 

“People who work at bookstores experience the joy of sharing their love of books every day,” Herbert reflected. “To see book-giving celebrated with a special day is wonderful! When you give a book to someone, you give a piece of yourself – and maybe open up a new world to that person.”

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