Culture > Emma Watson distributes books on the underground becoming the fairy book mother

Posted on November 3, 2016
Image by Jens Schott-Knudsen via flickr

Image by Jens Schott-Knudsen via flickr

Cullen Smith discusses the secret gifting of books on the tube

This Tuesday Harry Potter star and active philanthropist Emma Watson snuck around the tube stations of London and hid 100 books with personal hand written notes inside of them. She chose to be a ‘book fairy’ for the organisation Books on the Underground.

The organisation was more than happy to have the star join them for the day, “We are so excited to have such an amazing book shared by such an inspiring person as Emma Watson, and look forward to seeing the reaction of people who find them tonight and tomorrow!”

Books on the Underground is an organisation that was established in London in 2012 and has grown into a global phenomenon since then. It enlists volunteers to spread books around the underground daily to aid individuals on their commute. The organisation calls these volunteers their ‘book fairies’ and is dependent on their work.

The hidden books are then found and picked up by commuters. Once they finish the book they hopefully bring it back to the underground and hide it for another unsuspecting individual. The book fairies currently distribute about 150 books per week.

The book fairies currently distribute about 150 books per week

Watson enlisted to be a ‘book fairy’ for a day and went around hiding her favourite book Mom & Me & Mom, by Maya Angelou, along the different areas of the underground such as the Bakerloo line, District line, and Oxford Circus station. Watson chose to participate in this act of kindness to spread her love of reading and learning.

As soon as she was spotted in the tube stations the masses began to post a flurry of pictures and tributes for the star. Many who found the books took to social media to share their gratitude and their excitement at their new find by tweeting and posting images on Instagram.

Along with her position as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Watson started a feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf to spread her love of reading. She stated, “I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.”

By participating with Books on the Underground, Watson is encouraging people to read as well as shining light on beneficial organisations such as Books on the Underground and her own Our Shared Shelf. Watson’s book club is open for anyone to join and is based on the same rules as a normal book club. They read one book per month, and during the last week of the month the group discusses their thoughts on the reading via an online forum.

What do I think
I have to say, I am a bit disappointed that I heard about this news a couple days after it occurred as I would have loved to find one of these books. I have been a fan of Emma Watson since the beginning of the Harry Potter series and have followed her career since the end of that saga.

I find it refreshing to have such an influential figure supporting an organisation that encourages learning. Though I missed my chance to receive one of these special books, I’m glad that Watson is spreading her passion for reading and learning. To say the least, this was a very productive use of Emma Watson’s love of books and power of celebrity.

Cullen Smith
Cullen is in his third year of university at Loyola Marymount University in Southern California. He is currently studying psychology with a business minor and would like to deal with mental health in some form in the future.



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