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National Hugging Day–It's A Hugfest!

This month I decided to highlight my work via the national calendar because January marks a pretty special celebration for both of the genres I’ve written in so far. This one is all about the LOVE!

The Hug Who Had No Arms Shelly Snow Pordea

According to, January 21st is National Hugging Day in the U.S.

The day encourages people to show their emotions more often, and offer hugs to others, whether they are family, friends, or strangers. Hugging has many benefits, mental and physical. Hugging or being hugged by someone instantly makes us feel better because it reduces oxytocin. This hormone reduces pain and stress, lowers the risk of heart disease and it also reduces anxiety. Let this day remind you to show everyone around you how much you appreciate them by giving them a hug, and you'll feel better doing it too!

National Hug Day was made official by the United States Copyright Office, but it is not a public holiday. This means that businesses and schools remain open.


National Hugging Day was created by Kevin Zaborney in 1986, in Clio, Michigan. Zaborney picked the date of January 21 to observe this day because it falls between Christmas and Valentine's Day, a time of the year where people tend to feel a bit more down. He also believed that Americans tend to be very guarded…” (read more)

The Hug Who Had No Arms Shelly Snow Pordea

I wrote my little hug story because of an interview I heard with Author Andrew Newman of Conscious His work centers around conscious parenting and mental health for all. In the interview, he talked about his book, The Hug Who Got Stuck, and I had an immediate thought, “I don’t feel stuck. I just feel like I don’t have arms.”

And the idea for a story was born.

The next morning, my son came downstairs as I sat on the couch with my laptop. He asked me what I was working on. He was twenty at the time, and I began to read him my words as if he was just a little boy again. When we both teared up, I realized I had something pretty special.

I got to work on illustrations, publication, marketing, and within a few weeks, we had The Hug Who Had No Arms out into the world. In fact, my son even collaborated with me on the youtube version of the story, adding his music to my reading.

I invite you to plan ahead for your very own Hugfest this month, and be sure to share the love on the 21st! As for me, I'll be doing live readings in a few local schools and giving hugs with or without the use of my arms. Follow along on social media with the hashtag #hugfest and share your photos and ideas too.

Remember, "If you can't use your arms, use your words or a song. Only be sure to pass it along!"

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