What is National Book Month?

National Book Month isn't just for the awareness of reading, writing and literature. Learn how reading is also good for your mental and physical health.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


What Is National Book Month?


Do you enjoy reading? Maybe you’ve wanted to get back into reading or even read for fun and enjoyment for the first time. October is the perfect time for reading since it's National Book Month. In this blog post, you’ll learn more about National Book Month, why it was started, the health benefits of reading, and how you can participate.


Why Is National Book Month Important?


National Book Month is a national holiday to raise awareness of the importance of reading, writing and literature. This year, it may be more important than ever to advocate reading.


According to the Pew Research Center, there has been a decline in the number of 9- and 13-year-olds reading for fun. Nine-year-olds declined by 11 percent, with a 13 percent decline for 13-year-olds in 2019-2020. That number hasn’t been this low since the 1980s.


Who Started National Book Month?


As you can see from the information above, it's essential to advocate reading. So, who started National Book Month? The first National Book Month was in 2003, established by the National Book Foundation (NBF).


NBF is a not-for-profit organization created in the late 1980s by sponsors of the National Book Awards, which started in the 1950s. The NBF was created to oversee the National Book Awards. Its mission is to “celebrate the best literature published in the United States, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture." Every year, the award honors the best literature in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature and translated literature.


NBF is not the only organization that participates in this national holiday. Schools and libraries are also a significant part of the celebration. Especially as the world becomes more technologically advanced, it’s important to continue celebrating reading, writing and literature and their importance in your life.


What Are the Benefits of Reading?


Reading offers many benefits. It can help you learn new words, which in turn will help you increase your vocabulary. Reading can also help your mental health and understanding within your relationships.


According to a 2009 study at the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. Reducing stress will help lower your heart rate and ease muscle tension.


Another study from 2013 explored the short and long-term effects of brain connectivity while reading a novel. It showed that reading increased brain connectivity and activity. Reading helps you use more of your brain, which may create long-term positive effects.


Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? Are you spending time on your phone before bed? Well, reading before bed might be a better solution. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, reading a print version of a book can help you get to sleep if you're having trouble falling sleep after 20 minutes.


Reading can also help make you a more empathetic person. Researchers at The New School in New York City found that "literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling." It’s nice to understand what others are going through.


How Can You Celebrate National Book Month?


There are lots of fun and creative ways to celebrate National Book Month!

You can go to your local library to check out some fantastic books. Sometimes libraries host special events during National Book Month, so check online or in-person to see what's happening at your local library.


Find someone — a friend, a relative, or a colleague — to pair up with for a reading challenge. You could set a goal of how many books you want to read for the month, even the year. It's an excellent way to keep each other accountable.


If you have kids, you could encourage them to read more with a prize at the end of the month. Or maybe make it a habit to have reading time before going to bed. If you want to do something even more creative, you could challenge your kids to write their own stories. Then you could hand out awards, as the National Book Foundation does. Even if you aren’t a kid, this is a fun way to get your creative juices flowing and even practice your writing skills.


The Take Away


National Book Month is important for many reasons. It emphasizes the importance of reading, writing and literature in your daily life. You can help support writers, encourage others to read more, and enjoy the benefits of reading yourself. Reading is fun!


Take some time to learn more about the National Book Foundation and the benefits of reading. And if you just want to celebrate the month, head over to your local library and check out some books. Don’t forget to use #nationalbookmonth to show your participation and create awareness of this national holiday.