I believe in Australian Book Fairies!

What is better than a good book? A good FREE book! Book Fairies initially appeared in London with the vision to share the love of literature by sprinkling free books in random places. The fairies have since spread their wings and Australian Book Fairies can now be found too.

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So what exactly is a Book Fairy? I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Australian Book Fairy Tiffany Wasley to learn more about book fairies.

When and where did the Book Fairies movement start?

The official launch of the Book Fairies started on International Women’s day 2017 when Emma Watson (aka Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter) and book fairies from all over the world hid copies of feminist books for people to find. The heart of the organisation started in London and continues to grow all over the world.

How do you become a Book Fairy?

You simply place a sticker on a book that you wish to share with your community and hide it in plain sight for someone to find and read. We call this a ‘book drop’. The sticker is a way of letting people know the book is a gift and not something you have simply misplaced. With that in mind, people have taken to tying the books with ribbon and even leaving little notes inside for the finder to read. The sticker states “Take this Book, Read it and leave it for the next person to enjoy.”

Book Fairies Australia
Image credit: Book Fairies Australia Facebook Page

We encourage book fairies to take a photo of their book drops and post these on social media. Tagging their local book fairy account and using the hashtag #ibelieveinbookfairies that way the local account can re-post the picture for others to see. Sometimes this even helps people find the book, sort of like a treasure hunt! Although you have to be fast as the books get picked up very quickly. When the book is found the finder will often post a picture to social media as well. In that way, you can sometimes track the journey of a book. Not everyone posts pictures but that’s ok as well, we still know the book is appreciated and being read by people all over the community.

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What was the inspiration behind the Book Fairies?

Our Book Fairy in Chief, having pretty much grown up in a bookshop, always wanted to encourage people to read.
She even opened the bookshop at midnight for an event to launch the seventh Harry Potter book, and there was a queue down the street! She was one of the partners behind the success of Books on the Underground, and after partnering up with Emma Watson for a book drop in London, decided to go worldwide – and just four months later we launched! The inspiration is to get more people reading and exploring new authors and genres. We actively support independent bookshops and authors as well as hiding new books from publishers around the world.

Where did you leave your first book?

I left my very first book at a well-known statue in the city of Perth Western Australia. It was a copy of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. The statue is of a street performer doing a handstand. His name was Percy Button, he was a very popular street performer in the 1920s. It was so exciting to come out of the shops and see the book had been taken!

Has being a Book Fairy opened you up to giving and receiving within local communities?

I’ve always loved the idea of giving within the community whether it be to the local or the wider community. The thought that one simple action can brighten someone’s day is just beautiful. It costs nothing to pass on a book I’ve read and loved. It is a wonderful thought that a book will be loved again and again as it is shared throughout the community!

Book Fairies Australia
Image credit: Book Fairies Australia Facebook Page

Do you hope that Book Fairy books will bring people together to share stories?

I believe it already has. There are Book Fairies all over the world and it feels like such a community. Everyone is excited to see books they love being loved by others. I myself have even met up with a few different Fairies on my travels and it is so wonderful to meet like-minded people who wish to spread their love of books to others. Meetups are often held on International Book Fairy day in different countries and towns for fairies to get together and hide books as a group. It really is a magical movement to be a part of.

So how do people find the books?

People often find books by chance. We leave them in all sorts of places where there is a lot of foot traffic so they are easy to spot if you aren’t engrossed in your phone. It is normally people who are curious in their surroundings who will notice the book first or people who know to look out for them! It is quite special to have someone introduced to the idea of the Book Fairies through finding their first book. It’s exciting to stumble across a book you would love to read and then learn that there is an entire community based on sharing books with the world!

Where can Australian Book Fairies leave books?

Your imagination is really the limit here! Books can be left literally anywhere. The best places are locations where there are a few people to notice the book. Leaving it somewhere people would naturally look when walking past is the best as the book is most likely to be noticed there. So a statue, park bench, under a sign or on a table is perfect. Sometimes we even match the book to a location, such as leaving a copy of the hobbit at Hobbiton in New Zealand or a book about snow in, well you see where this is going! Most of all just have fun with it, hide books in places you like to read or somewhere you’ll get a nice picture or even just a place you walk past on the way to work.

Can anyone be an Australian Book Fairy and join in by leaving books?

Yes, anyone can leave a book! Kids, adults, dogs (yes there are a few canine Book Fairies who employ the help of their owners to leave their favourite books) anyone!

Are there Book Fairy rules? What kind of books can you leave? Do the books need to be in good quality?

There aren’t many rules. We steer clear of books pushing religion or that are inappropriate to leave in public. Otherwise, any book is welcome, from cookbooks to children’s books and everything in between. There are so many different books and different readers out there, we love to incorporate all of them! Sometimes we even have days dedicated to hiding different kinds of books. For example, we have a Biography day coming up this weekend! 

The books themselves don’t have to be in perfect quality. We often pass on second-hand books or books that have been saved from the tip. As long as you can read it and it is clean then it is fine to be passed along!

For more information take a look at the Book Fairies Website.

Kiddiehood

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