I think it started when we were poor newly weds and I wanted and excuse to be able to frivolously spend money in a book store without feeling bad about it. So we made up a holiday wherein we would go, as a family, to the book store and everyone could pick out whatever book they wanted. We imagined that when we had kids we would make a real adventure of it and it would get our kids excited about books and reading. And it sort of worked out that way.
We picked May 5th just because it would be easy to remember. We tried in past years to have it on National Read Aloud Book Day or other such literary days but we would always forget and then have to reschedule. So we picked May 5th several years ago and it has worked for us every year.
The celebrations have varied in intensity. Some years, while we lived in Portland, we would ride the train into downtown to go to Powell's, the amazing old book store there, and then have dinner in the city. Other years we would go to Costco, but our books there and then eat pizza in the Costco Cafe. But we always have fun and we always come home with more than one book per person. (It's hard to say no when your kids are asking you to buy books.)
And even though I have visions of my kids picking fantastic storybooks, or classics that I loved as a child, they usually buy a book about weather, or desert animals, or robots. But that's OK. I am a firm believer that you should let your kids read WHATEVER they want so reading is fun. They may or may not ever read your favorite book from childhood, but they will learn to love reading, and that is the most important part.
So I write this post as a gift to you. Every year when I blog (at my other blog) about Bingham Book Day, family and friends always say "Oh, I wish we celebrated that holiday!" Here's the thing: YOU CAN!! You don't have to do it tomorrow. You could do it next week, or in a month or whenever works for you. Just load the kids into the car, head to the bookstore and tell them they can get whatever book they want. They go to dinner and talk about what you picked. You can go to a used book store (or Costco - they have a well curated collection) and eat at McDonalds (or Costco - those hot dogs are $1.50 and come withe a drink! C'mon!)
So Happy Bingham Book Day tomorrow, or whenever you chose to celbrate it.
(If you are so inclined read about my familys past book days here, here, and here.)