Barbara Longova loved to read, spending time sitting on her porch, drinking a glass of wine, and reading a good book. She loved to share her fondness for books, too, making sure her grandchildren always had books they loved underneath the Christmas tree. Each year, “Oma” as they called her, would take her three grandkids to her favorite bookstore and let them pick out the books themselves. She would then wrap each book and put it under tree until Christmas morning. Since Longova’s passing, her family has shared their Oma’s passion and kindness—and you’ll definitely want to borrow the idea.
When Longova passed away in November 2015, her family wanted to continue to share her love of books—and bookstores—with the world. “We decided Oma would buy books for anyone who needed a little bit of money off the book they were choosing,” Longova’s daughter, Nicole White, told Today. To pay tribute to their Oma, they started a tradition of stopping by bookstores and tucking a note and a $5 bill into the back of the book. "Please accept this gift in loving memory of our grandmother who would take us to buy a book of our choosing every Christmas," the note read, according to Today. "She instilled in us a love of reading. Use this money towards a new book purchase. #omaluv."
While Longova's family tends to perform the random act of kindness at their Oma’s favorite shop, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, or in their local Barnes and Noble, there is no reason that the same generous gesture can’t play out in bookstores across the South.
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Several readers who have found #omaluv notes in their books have shared photos on social media, many of whom also share how touched they were. Now, the lucky recipients of Oma’s continuing kindness, are paying forward and perhaps you will, too. We can’t wait to find—and leave—these sweet tributes in bookshops.