Hidden, but in plain view, who is this mysterious Fairy? It could be someone seated near you in a restaurant or passes you in a grocery aisle. While you might not recognize them, what they leave behind is clearly visible.
No, they are not the tooth fairy, though there is a similarity as both leave a present. These elusive fairies play a game of hide and seek with a unique gift, a book, wrapped in a ribbon and bow. A label is adhered to the front cover with a clever illustration of wings rising from the open pages of a book. The finder is directed to take the book, read it, then return it for the next person to find.
My first encounter with a Book Fairy was on Twitter. A Canadian Fairy had posted a picture of a book, wrapped with a green ribbon and propped on a park bench. The tweet included a location where the book could be found. I had come across a new mystery. Who are Book Fairies, and how did all of this come about? I had to learn more. As I delved deeper into the shadowy depths of Fairyland, I found an amazing group of book lovers.
Book Fairies are a growing international organization with one goal: to get more books into the hands of readers. The movement started in 2017, when a London based organization, Books on the Underground, left copies of books on the London underground transportation system. Commuters were encouraged to read the book, take a couple of pictures to post on social media, then return the book to the underground for another traveler to find.
As more book lovers joined in, the name shifted to Book Fairies and the start of a new organization: I Believe in Book Fairies. When Emma Watson, famed for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter Series, became involved, the concept turned into a worldwide effort. Pictures of the intrepid Emma hiding books in London, Paris and other cities sparked a new interest.
From Singapore to India, to Paris, to London, to Canada, the USA, and around the world, Book Fairies are leaving books, new and used, on park benches, beside statues, in flower beds, and multiple other locations. They post a picture of the book and general location on social media for Book Fairy followers to find.
In March of this year, Book Fairies celebrated their first anniversary. They now have close to 9000 Book Fairies who are leaving books for readers to find in 100 countries. The Book Fairies have moved the concept of a lending library to the outdoors and into unlikely retail stores while adding a bit of fun and mystery.
The I Believe in Book Fairies website provides a listing of countries and links to Book Fairies in each country. The site also provides information on becoming an Official Book Fairy who represents a state, city, or local region. To leave a book with the official seal of a Book Fairy, labels, bookmarks, ribbons and even book bags are available at a very reasonable price.
For a reader, what a novel (no pun intended) idea. Become a Book Fairy and pass on those books we all collect. For an author, what a fun way to introduce your book to a new group of readers. Book Fairies like to receive books and will leave them in unusual places. With a little imagination, the Book Fairy concept can be incorporated into local events and even book signings to create interest. Children and fairies, is there anything more magical? Use children’s books for birthday parties and other events.
Hmm … maybe someone should warn the Easter Bunny.