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2021 literary calendar with 137 occasions for book lovers

Let’s pretend that 2021 is going to be a whole lot better than 2020 and look ahead to all of the book-related special occasions in this 2021 literary calendar that we can celebrate.

Whether you want to thank your favorite librarian, encourage teen reading, or promote poetry, there’s an occasion you can leverage.

We need books and reading more than ever. Use this calendar to help support both in the coming year.

How to use the 2021 literary calendar

What’s the best way to use these special dates? Here are ideas.

Step 1. Start by reviewing the list below and selecting those that speak to you. For example, if you (like me) love your library and its librarians, you’ve got plenty of opportunities in April to show that love. Do you enjoy celebrating birthdays? Several literary luminaries were born in February. Throw one of them a virtual birthday party!

Step 2. Add the dates you like to your calendar, but also create a reminder a few days in advance so you have time to plan and create what you’ll use to promote the special day.

Step 3. Decide how you’ll recognize the occasion. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a short video to share on social media. Instagram’s Stories function is perfect for this, but don’t overlook your Facebook page.
  • Write an article about why the special day is important to you for your blog or newsletter.
  • Collaborate with a large group of authors to donate proceeds from book sales during a specific period to a nonprofit or cause linked to one of the occasions that’s close to your heart.
  • Create an event-related image to share on social media. Here’s one for National Bookmobile Day in 2020 to get you thinking.

2021 literary calendar 2

Step 4: Don’t let all of these amazing ways to honor books and reading go to waste. Take action!

Your 2021 literary calendar

Now you’re ready to make things happen. Here’s your month-by-month calendar.


National Braille Literacy Month

1 – Copyright Law Day

2 – National Science Fiction Day

12 – Universal Letter Writing Week

14 – Poetry at Work Day

18 – Thesaurus Day

18 – Winnie the Pooh Day (birthday of author A.A. Milne)

19 – Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday

22 – Library Shelfie Day

25 – Burns Supper (Robert Burns’s birthday)

27 – Family Literacy Day in Canada


Library Lovers’ Month

1-7 Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week

3 – World Read Aloud Day

6 – Take Your Child to the Library Day

7 – Charles Dickens’s birthday

9 – Read in the Bathtub Day

12 –Judy Blume’s birthday

14 – International Book Giving Day

14 – Library Lover’s Day

19 – Amy Tan’s birthday

21-27 Freedom to Read Week in Canada

27 – John Steinbeck’s birthday

26 – Tell a Fairy Tale Day


2 – Read Across America Day

2 – Dr. Seuss’s birthday

2-8 Read an E-book Week

4 – National Grammar Day

4 – World Book Day in the UK and Ireland

16 – Freedom of Information Day

20 – World Storytelling Day

21 – World Poetry Day

26 – Robert Frost’s birthday

30 – Pencil Day


National Poetry Month

D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Month

1 – Reading is Funny Day

1 – Poetry and the Creative Mind Day

2 – International Children’s Book Day

2 – Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday

4 – National School Librarian Day

4 – Maya Angelou’s birthday

4-10 National Library Week

6 – National Library Worker’s Day

7 – National Bookmobile Day

9 – National Unicorn Day

12 – Beverly Cleary’s birthday

13 – Scrabble Day

15 – Rubber Eraser Day

15 – World Art Day

16 –  National Librarian Day

15 – Celebrate Teen Literature Day

18 – National Columnists Day

23 – Take Action for Libraries Day

23 – Shakespeare’s birthday

23 – World Book and Copyright Day

23 – English Language Day

24 – Congress approved the Library of Congress

24 – Independent Bookstore Day

27 – National Tell A Story Day

28 – Harper Lee’s birthday

28 – Great Poetry Reading Day


Short Story Month

Get Caught Reading Month

1 – Mother Goose Day

3-9 Children’s Book Week

2 – Harry Potter Day

4 – Free Comic Book Day

5 – National Cartoonists Day

9 – Peter Pan Day

10-14 – Reading is Fun Week

12 – Limerick Day

16 – Love a Tree Day

20 – Eliza Doolittle Day

22 – Sherlock Holmes Day

31 – Walt Whitman’s birthday


Audiobook Appreciation Month

GLBT Book Month

10 – Ball Point Pen Day

12 – Anne Frank’s birthday

16 – Bloomsday (celebration of Irish writer James Joyce’s life)

22 – Octavia Butler’s birthday

23 – Typewriter patent awarded


Read an Almanac Month

11 – E.B. White’s birthday

17 – World Emoji Day

21 – Ernest Hemingway’s birthday

22-24 Hemingway Days

30 – Paperback Book Day

31 – J.K. Rowling’s birthday


2 – National Coloring Book Day

9 – Book Lover’s Day

18 – Bad Poetry Day

21 – Poet’s Day

31 – We Love Memoirs Day


Library Card Sign Up Month

Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month

National Literacy Month

Read a New Book Month

4 – Richard Wright’s birthday

4 – Newspaper Carrier Day

6 – Read a Book Day

8 – International Literacy Day

19-25 – National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

19-25 – Banned Books Week

22 – Hobbit Day

22 – Dear Diary Day

24 – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday

25 – National Comic Book Day

29 – National Coffee Day in the U.S.


National Book Month

National Reading Group Month

1 – International Coffee Day

6 – Mad Hatter Day

11 – Myth and Legends Day

16 – Dictionary Day

18-22 – National Friends of Libraries Week

20 – National Day of Writing

27 – National Tell a Story Day in Scotland and the U.K.


National Novel Writing Month

Picture Book Month

National Family Literacy Month

National Memoir Writing Month

1 – National Family Literacy Day

1 – Author’s Day

2 – Book Lovers Day

4 – National Non-Fiction Day in the UK

10 – Young Readers Day

15 – I Love to Write Day

18 – High-Five a Librarian Day

29 – Louisa May Alcott’s birthday


Read a New Book Month

7 – Letter Writing Day

10 – Dewey Decimal System Day

16 – Jane Austen’s birthday

21 – Crossword Puzzle Day

21 – National Short Story Day

24 – Jolabokaflod, Iceland’s Yule Book Flood

Please note that there’s conflicting information online about some of these dates, but we’ve tried our best to verify and validate everything. Please let us know if you have a correction or clarification.

Have we missed anything? If you know of a holiday or occasion that should be on this calendar but isn’t, tell us in a comment. We’ll continually update this as needed. Thanks! 

Editor’s note 12-9-20: Thanks to alert reader L.R., we’ve added #134: October is National Reading Group Month.

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  1. Thanks for this useful post. I didn’t know October is NationalReading Group Month. It is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I could host author-led book clubs and promos to benefit domestic violence survivors!

  2. Thank you, Sandra. Last week I began to compile such a list, but had such a difficult time, I gave up. The arrival of your list brightened my day? Your newsletter always contains helpful and practical information.

  3. Thank you, Sandra! I’ve been looking for a list like this for a while. I will include these critical dates on my blog throughout 2021. Writing and free speech are immensely significant to me, so these are critical items to remember.

    1. I’m so glad it’s helpful, Alejandro! Be sure to download the PDF and save it to your computer so you have quick and easy access to it.


  4. It’s worth noting that November 29 is also the birthday of Louisa May Alcott’s father Amos Bronson Alcott – AND the birthdays of Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis! A remarkable day for birthdays.

    1. Thanks, Catherine. A landmark day!

      What is Amos Alcott’s contribution to American literature?


  5. Hi Sandra – No literature contribution I am aware of; just interesting that he has the same birthday as his daughter. He was a philosopher, and any his writings would have been more philosophical in nature as far as I know.

  6. Hi Sandra – No literature contribution I am aware of; just interesting that he has the same birthday as his daughter. He was a philosopher, and any his writings would have been more philosophical in nature as far as I know.

  7. Hi Sandra:

    Love this and your newsletter is one of my favs! Can’t resist recognition of literary holidays. 🙂

    Building my own making it more global friendly and to include a few other days including my under-represented community – Caribbean writers.

    In that spirit, kindly add CARIBBEAN LITERATURE DAY – July 12
    The inaugural one was on July 12, 2020

    Look out for activities by me.


    1. Thanks, Sandra! Will it be on July 12 in 2022, also? (Sometimes they’re the last Saturday of the month, first Monday of the month, etc.)


  8. Hi

    Just thought I should let you know that the Young Readers Day should be the 9th this year not the 10th as it is the second Tuesday of November

  9. HI

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