Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, New York, will participate in Hug a Book Week, from September 6 – 14, to encourage a love for reading and to raise money and support for local literacy programs. Money raised via a social media challenge and a children’s book party, as well as a percentage of children’s book sales, will be given to the Literacy Coalition of Madison County, New York (LCMC NY). The Hug a Book Week promotion was developed by Simon & Schuster Children’s Books to celebrate the release of Hug Machine, by Scott Campbell. Resources provided by the publisher on the Hug Book Week webpage include store signage, Hug Machine activities, and a video.
Colgate Children’s Program Coordinator Heather Elia, who is known to the town’s children as Miss Heather, told Bookselling This Week that she is excited about getting the community involved in the cause.
“I think people in this community are very willing to give to worthy causes, but I think it raises the stakes and the excitement when, instead of an organization asking for contributions, it’s an individual or group in their community,” commented Elia. “They will want to donate”
The Colgate Hug a Book Week celebration has three parts: First, the bookstore will give 10 percent of all children’s books sales between September 6 – 14 to LCMC NY. Elia is confident that members of the community will come out to shop those days to support the program. Second, for every picture of a person hugging a book posted to the store’s Facebook page or on Twitter, tagging the bookstore and including the hashtag #hugabook, Elia will donate a dollar of her own money, and she’s hoping the social media challenge will extend to supporters outside the local community. Finally, to celebrate the end of Hug a Book Week, the store will host a book party on Saturday, September 13, between 10:30 a.m. and noon. The party will include a reading of Hug Machine and other similarly themed stories, crafts and activities, and, of course, pizza, the food that sustains a person’s hugging power. The party is free of charge, but the bookstore will be collecting donations at the event.
Book-themed crafts, based on ideas provided on the S&S Children’s Hug a Book Week website, will involve coloring a big sticker of the main character with his arms outstretched, preparing for a hug. Kids will be encouraged to put the sticker on anything or anyone they think deserves a hug. Another craft that Elia is considering is the Hug Machine finger puppet, whose cutout and instructions are available on the site.
Colgate Bookstore, which prides itself on its service to both the college and local communities, hosts a number of children’s events throughout the year. These include activities on one Saturday a month, after school programs, book-themed fieldtrips for classrooms throughout the region, and annual Halloween parties. “I want children to be excited about reading and to continue to be into their adult years,” Elia said. “I hope Hug a Book Week will raise awareness for the LCMC NY. They support childhood and adult literacy, and I don’t think people know that. They’re an organization that is passionate about literacy in our county and is working towards a 100 percent literacy rate.”