Cincinnati Book Fairies Give the Gift of Reading

Amanda Moore heads up the local Book Fairy brigade, leaving books for people to find, read and then rehide for someone else to discover

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click to enlarge Cincinnati Book Fairies Give the Gift of Reading
Courtesy of Amanda Moore
It was Emma Watson leaving copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in Paris that inspired Cincinnatian Amanda Moore to become a book fairy. Moore, a social media and public relations specialist at Sibcy Cline, saw a post about Watson on Facebook and thought it was a unique way to give back to one’s community. And so she wanted to bring the concept to Cincinnati.

“You walk upon this book and it has a ribbon and a sticker and it says, ‘You found me.’ It’s this whimsical, almost childlike experience,” Moore says. “You feel like this gift was left for you.”

The Book Fairies project was launched in London in 2017 by “Book Fairy in Chief” Cordelia Oxley. The goal, according to the website, is to leave books for people to find, read and then rehide for someone else to discover. There are over 9,000 book fairies in 100 countries.

After buying stickers from The Book Fairies website, Moore dropped her first book — The Wedding, by Nicholas Sparks — at Summit Park in July 2017.

Moore serves as one of two Ohio Book Fairy officials, as well as the Cincinnati Book Fairy. Anyone can be a Book Fairy, but officials are responsible for maintaining social media accounts and spearheading local book drops.

As an organization, The Book Fairies has themed weeks, which sometimes dictate what books Moore delivers. Keep an eye peeled ahead of Christmas — they plan to hide books wrapped like presents. 

“My fascination with it is really finding the perfect match for the book,” Moore says. “I like finding the perfect placement for it. And that, I just think, is even more special when you come upon it.”

After sifting through stacks of books, Moore decides where a good location will be. If she has a book about pizza, she’ll leave it at a pizza restaurant. If it’s a book about fairies or a children’s book, she may leave it at the Krohn Conservatory. One time, she left a copy of Alice in Wonderland at a park.

When Moore first started scattering books, she would buy them at Half Price Books. Now, she has a partnership with Oakley’s Blue Manatee Literacy Project in which they provide her advance reader copies and other various books.

She hides the literary treasures in public places and typically doesn’t let an establishment know in advance — she likes the element of surprise. She says a few companies have reached out to her and thanked her for leaving a book.

“Once (Comfort Station) saw that I dropped one at their blue door outside,” Moore says. “They regrammed it and were like ‘The book fairy came to visit.’ Most of the time, the companies are very excited when I come and drop a book.”

She recounts one story in particular about a girl who follows the Cincinnati Book Fairy account; she always looks for books that Moore places. One time, she found one. She told Moore that it made her summer because she was at a low point in her life and it gave her a feeling of happiness.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t realize the impact you have on people,” Moore says. “Because it seems so simple, right? You’re just dropping a book at these places and leaving it.”

Moore’s favorite book she dropped was actress Busy Philipps’ memoir This Will Only Hurt a Little. Wrapped in white ribbon, complementing the bright pink cover, she left it in front of a flower mural near Over-the-Rhine’s Brown Bear Bakery. Philipps liked the post on Instagram, which Moore says was “kind of a big deal.”

In the future, Moore hopes to increase partnerships with authors, distribute more children’s books and encourage others to become Book Fairies.

“Anyone could be one,” she says. “The one girl that I said that follows us kind of religiously — she has sent me pictures of books that she’s dropped after she’s completed them. And that’s what I love is this continuation of the story.”

 Keep up with the Cincinnati Book Fairy on Instagram: @bookfairies_cincinnati

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