So the holiday season is over, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more things to celebrate! Although many of you may already be thinking about Mother’s Day, there’s also a long list of literary holidays coming up just around the corner.
If you want the full list of book holidays to add to your 2021 calendar, look no further! You can browse through them on A Calendar of Book Holidays to Celebrate Reading All Year Long. Double-check dates, because some vary from year to year.
With that said, what can you do for those holidays? How can you appreciate them this year? Well, I’ve got you covered. I did a nice roundup of the best literary holidays and what you can do to celebrate them. Oh AND you can do most of these activities from home!
If you’ve taken a glance at the long list of holidays (there’s 93!), you’ll notice that there are more holidays in certain months compared to others (ahem, April and October, ahem). Because of this, I’ve included more than one holiday in particular months while leaving out months that have fewer options. For each holiday, you’ll get some fun activities and links for recommended books!
Now, let’s BOOK that calendar!
10 of the Best Literary Holidays
1. Library Lovers Day: February 14 (And National Library Lovers Month)
Okay, I know there’s so much you could do for this day, so why not combine Valentine’s Day and Library Lovers Day?
To appreciate both holidays, start by reading a romance book from your local library.
If you don’t have any romance books in mind, take a quick look at these New Romance Books You Might’ve Missed in 2020. After all, it’s barely 2021. If you’re ready for new releases, try out these 20 Must-Read YA Romances Hitting Shelves January–June 2021. There are lots of options depending on what you like to read. Add one of these 10 Queer Couples with Swoony Romances for Valentine’s Day to your reading list. This list has a few books I’ve read OR intend to read. Yes, I’ve been meaning to read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue and I will get to it asap.
Next, pick out a few classic romantic movies that involve bookworms like Pride and Prejudice, You’ve Got Mail, Bright Star, Jane Austen Book Club, and Austenland. Check out this list for more movies that book lovers will love.
Encourage your love of libraries by helping a friend get a library card. For more info, check your local library. Share that love with your local library by donating or volunteering. Make sure to check if your library accepts book donations and needs volunteers to shelve books. You can also see if they have any virtual book clubs or classes you can participate in or lead. While I’m on the subject, brush up on your library etiquette. Check out what you should and shouldn’t do (like reshelving books!) at your local library here.
Spend the day reading about libraries around the world. Start with Boats, Bread, And Biblioburros: Unusual Libraries Around The World. Then read about 6 Famous Libraries That Were Tragically Destroyed and Little Free Libraries Across All 7 Continents.
Don’t want the fun to end? Don’t worry, February is National Library Lovers Month so you can keep the activities going all month!
Consider a longer project like creating your own little free library. Or you can even buy one! Check out these 17 Little Free Libraries to Buy.
There’s so much love to share on this day!
2. World Poetry Day: March 21
This holiday is a wonderful way to appreciate and honor this amazing art form. From epic poems like The Odyssey to contemporary spoken word poetry like Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb, poetry has changed greatly and served a variety of purposes. So how can we enjoy it? Obviously by reading poetry!
First, consider rereading your favorite poems or poetry books. I’ll be rereading K.Y. Robinson’s The Chaos of Longing.
Second, share your favorite poem(s) on social media. Take the opportunity to introduce your peers to some of your favorite poems and poets. You can also engage with your favorite poets on Twitter and Instagram. This day is a chance to show some love to some incredible poets. Give them a shoutout and support their work. From buying their books to checking their social media for links to retweet and donate, there are so many ways to support them!
Third, try something new! Mix it up with a poem from another country. Check out a poetry book with a different style. You can start by looking at these 50 Must-Read Best Poetry Books. Don’t have as much time as you like? You can read these 43 Short Poems to Sneak More Poetry into Your Life. If you’re a bit intimidated by poetry, don’t worry, you can find all types of poetry from free verse and sonnets to haikus and epic poetry. Whatever you choose, try these Tips on How to Read More Poetry.
Find a new poet. That can be a poet new to you or new to everyone. If you haven’t already, I suggest checking out Amanda Gorman and the poem she read at Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony. You can read about her in Amanda Gorman: The Youngest Inaugural Poet in History. She has her debut poetry collection coming out called The Hill We Climb. There’s also some other great poets you can check out in 7 Poets Like Amanda Gorman to Watch. This list includes some of my favorites like slam poet Rudy Francisco.
Fourth, write a poem and share it with a friend. Better yet, WRITE a poem with a friend. Don’t underestimate the creative energy that two or more people can create. Even if it’s simply exchanging ideas or feedback on a poem, it can definitely provide some perspective. Don’t be afraid to be silly. Poetry is a powerful tool for social change, but it’s also a channel for emotions, whatever ones you possess at any given time. It could be a rant about something that’s been bothering you or a sweet ode to your favorite song.
Fifth, attend virtual poetry events!
Here are a few to consider looking into:
African American Poetry (Poetry Society of New Hampshire Round Robin) on March 12, 2021, 7–8 p.m. EST. Have your poems, stories, songs, etc. about race ready for this online event.
Virtual Poetry Open Mic by Keep St. Pete Lit on March 31, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. EST. This event happens on the last Wednesday of every month, so if you miss this one, try the next event in April.
Verselandia’s Youth Poetry Slam Championship on April 29, 2021. I know this isn’t in March, but it’s a great opportunity to watch young poets perform virtually! For an example of some of their past work, check out the performances from their 2018 competition on The Archive Project.
Sixth, don’t forget virtual book festivals happening in March!
Here are some examples:
Virginia Festival of the Book will be taking place March 13–26, 2021. The festival will be online and include readings, discussions, and other activities. Schedule to be announced!
Note: When selecting an event, make sure to check the time zone and convert it to your current location. Look out for other upcoming virtual poetry events by following your favorite poets and bookstores on social media. If the current health situation changes, check for safe events that are in person in March.
3. D.E.A.R. Drop Everything And Read Day: April 12
Yes, I am highlighting this day because of the clever name. This holiday is celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday, author of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. In honor of the author and the joys of reading, celebrate this holiday by reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8 on D.E.A.R. Day.
Along with reading this beloved book, you can enjoy these activities related to it. These activities are perfect to do with a class of students (teachers, I got you!) or with other lovers of the book. You can also watch Ramona and Beezus, the 2010 film based on the book.
This is a great chance to abandon your work and dive into the next book on your TBR list. Kidding! Not really…
Do take the opportunity to read for 30 minutes or more on this day.
AND consider attending a virtual book event. The San Antonio Book Festival on April 9–11, 2021, is online. If you’re interested, check the website as details are provided. There is also the Newbury Literary Festival on April 23–25, 2021. It will be online with a full lineup of events that are yet to be announced.
April is National Poetry Month so celebrate two holidays in one day by reading poetry on DEAR Day.
Well, dear(s), get ready to cancel your plans. Don’t worry, you have a good excuse. You just HAD to drop everything and read today!
4. National Talk Like Shakespeare Day: April 23
This day celebrates the birthday of the celebrated literary genius William Shakespeare. It is believed that he was born on April 23, 1564, but we can’t be sure about the exact date. In his honor, this holiday was made to have a bit of fun with the language he employed in his plays and poetry.
What can you do on National Talk Like Shakespeare Day?
First, bring out your inner thespian by talking like him! Use thee, thou, and ye. Don’t forget to incorporate some key words like “forsooth,” “prithee,” and “doth.” Get creative by introducing some insults like “canker blossom” or “lily-livered.” If you’re particularly ambitious, try and do it in iambic pentameter. For more help, check out this article about Shakespearean grammar.
Once you’re ready, have a chat with friends or hop on twitter and use #TalkLikeShakespeareDay. Show the world your best verse!
Second, watch some of the best Shakespeare adaptations to really get into the *Shakespeare spirit*. Check out A Definitive List of the Best Shakespeare Film Adaptations.
If you don’t have enough time to read some of his classics, try reading some of his sonnets. Read ten of his greatest sonnets here or pick from this complete list of his 154 sonnets. You can also purchase Shakespeare’s Complete Sonnets and Poems.
Fourth, if you’re not into talking like Shakespeare, try writing like him! Roll out your very own Shakespearean sonnet. Find out what you need to know to write a sonnet here.
Drink like Shakespeare by snatching a cute mug from All the Shakespeare Mugs.
Start practicing now so that when the holiday comes, you can speaketh like Shakespeare!
5. Audiobook Appreciation Month: June
Audiobooks offer another way to enjoy a book whether it’s a classic or the newest YA release. It can make it easier to read more books in a month, especially if you’ve taken up a book challenge like Book Riot’s own 2021 Read Harder Challenge. It also offers a new experience when the audiobook is performed by the author.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Murder On The Orient Express narrated by Dan Stevens. As a Downton Abbey fan, I really loved his portrayal of each character in both books.
To honor this month, why not listen to some audiobooks? When picking an audiobook, there are many choices to make from the book to the platform you access them on.
For platforms, you have several options like Audible, Google Audiobooks, Librivox, Kobo Audiobooks, and Spotify. Check out your local library for digital and physical audiobooks (if you still own a CD player!). You can also borrow audiobooks and eBooks from your local public library via the Libby app.
There’s a variety of audiobooks available for free. Start your search by checking out these 10 Free Audiobooks You Probably Didn’t Know Were in the Public Domain, 14 Websites to Find Free Audiobooks Online, and 29 Free Audiobooks for Kids and Anyone Else.
For selecting books, you could go with anything from poetry to fiction. Try adding some poetry books to your list like these 8 Great Poetry Audiobooks Performed by their Authors. OR try these 6 Summer Audiobooks for Readers in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on how you’re feeling this year, these 6 Audiobooks to Help You Out of Your Post-Holiday Reading Slump may be especially helpful.
Don’t think you’d be able to sit still long enough to finish an audiobook? You don’t have to. Listen to an audiobook while you walk or hike. Better yet, CRAFT! Read about how you can combine crafts with audiobooks in Want to Listen to (More) Audiobooks? Pick Up a Craft!.
Not sure if you have time this month to squeeze in some listening? Pick one to snooze to! Check out How to Find Audiobooks for Sleep.
Podcast fans, I haven’t forgotten about you! Listening to a podcast during this month is another fun way to celebrate. Like audiobooks, there is a long list of places to find a great podcast. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or these other apps.
Not sure what to listen to? First, check out The Best Fiction Podcasts You Need to Listen to. You can also check out Book Riot’s podcasts. There are several options that are perfect to fill your bookish needs.
6. National Coloring Book Day: August 2
Coloring is a fun activity for both kids and adults to get silly, use their imagination, and relax. There’s so many reasons to color from making something pretty to using that creative energy. It’s a great activity to focus on or to do while multitasking.
To properly celebrate this day, one should color, no? For your coloring extravaganza, I’ve got several links with free coloring pages as well as recommendations for different coloring books you can buy.
Coloring can be enjoyed while chatting or video calling a friend. You could host a virtual color party or keep it simple by listening to music or a podcast. Better yet, make it an extra bookish day by coloring and listening to an audiobook.
Now let’s check out some coloring books!
Color some of your favorite books scenes: 15 Literature-Themed Adult Coloring Books
This list includes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Whimsical Coloring Book for Adults and Kids. It’s so gorgeous that I’m very tempted to buy it. This would also be perfect for Mad Hatter Day in October!
For free pages from fabulous museums, libraries, and artists, go here:
Feel free to color IN or OUTSIDE the lines!
7. National Comic Book Day: September 25
National Comic Book Day, a day to honor and appreciate the vast array of comics at your disposal. Whether it’s Marvel or Manga, I encourage you to enjoy all things comic related. This can mean breaking out your old comics, purchasing a new graphic novel, or watching anime.
Don’t know much about comics? Catch up by reading A Very Brief History of Comic Books.
What are you doing for National Comic Book Day?
Graphic novels are a great way to transition into the comic scene if you’ve never read comics before. Unlike comics, the story is often finished in one book or volume. There are many graphic novels coming out each year like these 5 New and Upcoming Graphic Novels. If you like memoirs, try these 9 Graphic Memoirs and True Stories by Women. Also, consider these 10 Middle Grade Graphic Novels to Gift This Year.
When it comes to comic books, there’s really something for everyone.
Try reading about politics in comic book form with these 4 Comics About Politics. If you really want to get immersed in a story, check out these 8 Controversial Comics That Will Have You Turning Every Page.
For those who would rather enjoy something more calm, check out these 11 Great Comics to Relax with. If you enjoy a good cry every once in awhile, peruse these 5 Comics That Will Help You Feel All the Feels.
If you don’t want to buy physical comics, try webcomics! You can often find some for free like these 12 Queer Webcomics or you can read on certain sites like Webtoon. You can get started with these 10 of the Best Webcomics for Newcomers. If you’re already familiar, then consider these 50 Webcomics You Have to Check Out Now.
Comic Book Day is a great time to start a new Manga! If you’re a fan of reading Manga or watching anime, you know there are a plethora of choices. Consider trying these 15 of the Best Fantasy Manga: Classics and New Stories. Find out where to read Manga online with these 10 of the Best Manga Reader Sites and Apps to Feed Your Need. If you like to read Manga with others or get more recommendations, check out these 10 MangaTubers You Should Be Watching.
Lastly, you can read Manhwa which is similar to Manga, but Korean! Don’t know much about it? Here’s Your Intro to Manhwa and Webtoons. Also, some recommendations to get you started: 18 of the Best Manhwa You Can Reread Over and Over Again
The options here are basically limitless. After all, so many movies are based on comics!
There are enough Marvel and DC movies to have you busy long after this holiday is over. You could go with a classic like Batman or go with a recent release like Wonder Woman 1984. Personally, I’m a fan of the new Spiderman movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
If you thought you had a lot of choices from Marvel and DC, just back up and take a look at the huge catalogue of anime movies and shows.
Newbies, I got you! Check out this list of the best anime for beginners. I highly recommend Erased and Your Name. Plus, I’d like to add Death Note and Haikyuu!! to that list. If you like something creepy, but also heart-wrenching, try The Promised Neverland!
When considering your options, don’t forget about Studio Ghibli! Enjoy beloved movies like Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro. Find out if you’ve already seen these Five must-watch Studio Ghibli movies. FYI When Marnie Was There is not on this list, but it’s definitely a must see in my opinion.
Whatever you watch, pair it with a meal fit for your favorite hero or villain with these 5 Comic and Animation Themed Cookbooks.
Third, make your own comic!
If you’ve been wanting to create one for awhile, this is officially a sign that you SHOULD! Spend the day planning out a comic book or creating some characters. Here is an overall guide to making a comic book. You can tackle several major elements like story development or start with a main character.
Support your local comic book store by purchasing a new comic. Check for sales or specials happening this week or month.
Also, support your favorite comic book artists. This could mean directly buying from the artist or checking if they have a Patreon. If you’re not sure how to show your support, check their social media. Most times, they’ll provide ways to support them like donating to their Ko-fi. Don’t forget to recommend their work to friends and family.
Fifth, comic con!
It’s still hard to tell if it’ll be safe enough to attend one in person, but there are a bunch of comic conventions scheduled throughout 2021. For a full list of conventions, check out lists on gamesradar, fancon, and upcomingcons.
For September, there are a number of comic conventions in the U.S. like the L.A. Comic Con on September 24–26, 2021. Tickets are available to purchase. The 2021 guests have been announced and include the cast of My Hero Academia. If you plan on attending, make sure to check the event website for updates on safety and security.
A lot of the conventions in September are currently scheduled to be in person. Keep an eye on these events as dates approach because many of them may become virtual events.
Whether you go to an in person or virtual comic convention, you can still dress up! Cosplay can be fun in a group or by yourself. For some inspo, check out The Best Marvel Costumes for All Your Superhero Needs. There are also these 17 Absolutely Brilliant Superhero Costumes for Kids and Toddlers.
Read, watch, or dress up as your favorite comic book character!
8. National Cookbook Month: October
National Cookbook Month is the perfect opportunity to assemble some new recipes you’ve wanted to try or share some of your favorites with friends. This could take many forms from trying a new recipe each week to digging up some old family recipes and putting your own twist on it.
Include friends and family by sharing your dishes via social media or in a group chat. Take it a step further by starting a cooking club (even if it’s just for October!). In this way, you can share your love of food with like-minded people. Not sure where to start? You can check out these 3 Great Cookbooks for Supper Clubs. The dishes in Over Easy look so delicious!
For new recipes, find a new cookbook to suit your tastes.
It could be a book that focuses on vegetables like these 8 Great Cookbooks that Make You Want to Eat Your Veggies. Or a book full of recipes for the season like these 10 Winter Hibernation Cookbooks to Make You Drool. October is close enough to winter, right?
If you have kids, get creative in the kitchen with these 12 Awesome Summertime Cookbooks for Kids.
Watching The Great British Baking Show and wanna try your hand at it? Well, these Cookbooks for the Wannabe Great British Baking Show Contestant may be just perfect for you!
Be good to your body AND the environment with these 10 Environmentalist Cookbooks and Guides for a More Sustainable Kitchen.
Besides finding a new cookbook, you can try making dishes with a literary twist! Wondered whether Turkish delight was tasty enough to sell out your family? Well, let your taste buds decide if Edmund was right by trying it yourself. Find some literary inspired recipes from The Chronicles of Narnia and other books here.
If you’re not too keen on making these dishes yourself, get your fill from the vast array of cooking shows like Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious. I’ve personally been watching Sugar Rush, though I have no plan on baking a three tier cake or whipping up chocolate cupcakes with a fresh cherry compote. For other fun foodie shows, check out these food shows on Netflix.
Cookbooks and cooking shows aside, you can also read a book about food like these 9 Rom-Com Books for Foodies. Add a sweet love story to your love of food this month!
To top it all off, spruce up your kitchen with a few new kitchen items. Get extra nerdy with Great Bookish Kitchen Gear to Make Meals More Literary. I definitely might have my eye on a cute Jane Austen teapot!
Now get cooking, baking, reading, or all three!
9. Mad Hatter Day: October 6
Based on the beloved character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter Day is a holiday to act a bit sillier and don on a magnificent hat!
There’s a wide variety of things you can do to celebrate this holiday. For starters, you can read or reread the whimsical book. You can enjoy the original book or take a look at these 10 Alice in Wonderland Illustrators. Each of these illustrations offer a new way to experience the story.
Dive further into wonderland by reading Carroll’s other book, Through the Looking Glass. You can also purchase the four book Alice in Wonderland Collection with the original Alice in Wonderland manuscript.
Not planning on reading the full book? That’s okay, you can get a nice taste with these 36 Alice in Wonderland Quotes.
You can also watch one or all of the various movie adaptations of the novel. From Disney’s animated adaptation in 1951 to the more recent Alice Through the Looking Glass made in 2016, you won’t find yourself lacking in options. Find the full list of adaptations here.
Whether you watch or read, do it in true Mad Hatter fashion with your own tea party! Do a virtual one with several friends or set it up for you and a friend.
What do you need for a tea party?
First, a delicious cup of tea and sweets!
Try this Mad Hatter themed tea. Look through these 7 Bookish Tea Blends to Pair with Your Perfect Book to enjoy all year. Get a little sillier with this Mad Hatter inspired cocktail.
Submerge yourself in tea history by reading these 7 Books About the History of Tea. There’s a book about Boba tea that I’ve got my eye on!
With your tea, you can munch on some bread and butter as well as cute finger sandwiches and cherry tomato toadstools. Find the recipes for these adorable treats and more here.
Decorate your space with Alice in Wonderland themed pictures and pieces! Take a look at this Alice in Wonderland Art. Expecting a baby? These Alice in Wonderland Nursery and Decor Ideas are perfect for making your nursery into its own kind of wonderland. Due to timing and products available, some of the products in each link may have been sold out. A quick search on Etsy can help you find something else to fit your whimsical needs!
Third, a silly hat!
Wear a Mad Hatter top hat or make your own. For inspiration, hop onto Pinterest. You could do a number of things from thrifting pieces to making a cardboard hat from scratch. If you’re particularly crafty, you can try making this upcycled Mad Hatter top hat. Be warned, it looks difficult. Start smaller with this cute Mad Hatter headband.
If you’re really dedicated, you can dress up as a character from the book. Check out these Magical Alice in Wonderland Costumes for Your Next Party or Halloween.
Not sure who to dress up as? Take this Which Character From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Are You? Quiz.
Other things you can do at your tea party:
Take a quiz to test your knowledge of Alice in Wonderland. Try your luck with the You’d Have to be Mad to Ace this Alice in Wonderland Quiz.
Color to your heart’s content with this Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Whimsical Coloring Book for Adults and Kids mentioned earlier.
Get a tattoo! Have an undying love for the book? Check out these 25 Beautifully Whimsical Alice in Wonderland Tattoos. Make sure to research locations and exercise caution when selecting a tattoo parlor.
Whatever you do on this day, embrace your silly side, drink more (tea, of course!), and see if you can believe six impossible things before breakfast!
10. Jólabókaflóð, AKA the Christmas Book Flood: December 24
Celebrated in Iceland, this holiday is a time to buy loads of books to give to friends and family. It started when Iceland gained independence from Denmark during World War II. Unlike other commodities, paper and paper goods were still available and therefore became the perfect gift to give to loved ones during this time. Since then, Bókatíðindi, a book catalogue, has been sent to every home at the same time as the Reykjavik Book Fair in November. With this catalogue, people can order books and have them ready by the time the holiday comes around. If you want to know more about the history of this holiday, read it here. If you’re interested in Iceland and its book culture, check out Explore Icelandic Literary Culture.
What can we do for this holiday? BUY books! But also GIFT books too!
Before I provide some links to great books to buy, consider adding a little spin to gifting this year. While you can select books to give to your loved ones, you can also arrange a Secret Santa book exchange. You could do this with coworkers, a close group of friends, or your extended family. Depending on the person, you could select a personal favorite or a new release (December is Read a New Book Month!). To take things up a notch, you can decide a genre or theme for the gifted books. It could be your favorite mystery or a book that challenges you (or the receiver of the gift). For more category ideas, check out Book Riot’s 2021 Read Harder Challenge.
For the exchange, you can send them via mail and host a virtual party where you unwrap your gifts. Depending on current affairs, you may be able to host in person with safety precautions.
What books will you buy? Browse through some recommendations below.
Some gifts can be free! Introduce these 10 Free Holiday Romance Short Stories You Can Read Online to your loved ones.
Have a friend who likes romance, but you’re still not sure what book to buy them? Have them take the Which Holiday Romance Should You Read Based on Your Christmas Faves? Quiz! You can also check out these 5 Lesbian and Gay Holiday Romances to Read this Season.
Horror fans, here’s a little something you can buy for yourself or your friends. Read Ho-Ho-Holiday Horror: Have Yourself A Scary Little Christmas. Give the gift of mystery with these 5 Winter Mysteries that are Cozier than a Cup of Tea.
Share your love of books with children AND make it inclusive. Here’s 10 Inclusive Children’s Holiday Books for the Most Wonderful Storytimes of the Year.
Is your friend not much of a reader, but loves Hallmark movies? Well then, check out these 12 Christmas YA Books that Give Hallmark Movie Vibes.
Whatever the genre, there’s always a book for someone!
With all these literary holidays, I am just BOOKED for the rest of the year!
Sorry friends, can’t hang out. I’ll have to check my 2022 calendar.
Hope your year is BOOKED, BOOKISH, and BUSY.