Building a Dream Out of Books!

April 23, 2014

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about #GoWithout here on the blog.

You all remember the concept, right?

Stop and think of something that you could do without, whether it be for a day, a week, or a month, in order to give a little to someone else.

Well, thanks to Katie Sluiter, I have a new project for you all that is totally worth skipping that Starbucks Non-Fat Iced Venti Caramel Macchiato for.

(and yes, I just ended my sentence with a preposition and I don’t EVEN CARE right now…which is probably weird given the topic ahead…I DIGRESS)


I’d venture to say that readers of this blog have one major thing in common – a love for reading. For many of you, that love goes hand in hand with your love for writing. Books are what made you the writers you are today.

Imagine your younger days (or even your older ones) without your favorite books available to you?

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but as much as I LOVED reading when I was in school, the required reading lists got a bit tiresome at times.

I mean, I could only read so much Ayn Rand before I wanted to stab myself in the eye. (No offense, Randys. My AP English Comp teacher had a thing for her books. Overkill.)

I was fortunate growing up with a mom who always fostered a love for reading in us. Even though we couldn’t afford shiny new books like so many of my classmates, my mom took us to the library regularly, encouraging us to find books we would love. She searched through piles at thrift stores and junk shops that didn’t value those beautiful old copies of Nancy Drew like we would.

But enough about the awesome that is my mom.

Not every kid I went to school with had someone extolling the virtues of reading in their corner, so required reading was about as exciting as it sounded.

What if these kids had some choice?

That’s where Katie comes in. You can check out her post here, but for you readers who don’t feel like reading, she’s creating a library in her classroom to encourage that love of reading. It doesn’t mean abandoning the classics, but it allows students to fall in love with reading by choosing material that captures their interest.

How can you help? One way is to check out the Amazon Wish List referenced in her post.

But that’s not the only way.

013How many of you have some great books gathering dust on your shelves? Give them new life by sending them to be part of this classroom’s library! I know some of you have book piles that no longer fit in your bookshelves, so why not make a little room and help a student learn to love books?

A simple shipment could make all the difference! And hey, book rate is pretty much the cheapest way ever to send anything, so it won’t hurt your wallet much either.

If you want to go the used book route, shoot me your email in the comments, or email me directly and I’ll get the shipping information to you.

Let’s give this teacher and her students the gift of books! Or more specifically, the gift of loving them.


Now, because I am sure you all will ask, what kind of books? The students in question are high school Juniors and Seniors (16-18 years old). Fiction is preferable, although some non-fiction would be okay as long as the content would be of interest to that age range. (They probably don’t need books on retirement :))

Authors, since I am sure you will ask, can you send your own books? Sure! If you think your book is a good fit, feel free to toss in a copy.

(Just don’t flood this lovely teacher’s library with nothing but your own stuff, k? Variety is the spice of something or other…)


Alright, ya’ll. Do me proud. Get those books moving. And spread the word!

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  • Reply Katie April 23, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Amber, thank you so much for posting about this. I should also say I teach in a Title 1, at-risk district. Many of my students didn’t get read to when they were kids. As a mom who has a four-year old son who she is reading chapter books with, this is hard on me. The fact that you are giving my little project space on your blog is so overwhelmingly awesome to me.

    Thank you. A million thank yous.

    • Reply Amber West April 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Katie, thank you for adding that information about your school.

      I really hope that readers will support this whatever way they can!

  • Reply Tiffany A White April 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Simply Wonderful.

    • Reply Amber West April 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Tiff! Spread the word!

  • Reply Kassandra Lamb April 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Boy, do I need to clean off my book shelves, and I love being able to help others with the things I don’t need anymore. (I had $800 worth of deductions for stuff given to thrift shops on my taxes this year). So send me that shipping info, Amber. My e-mail is lambkassandra3@gmail.com

    • Reply Amber West April 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Email is on its way, Kassandra. Thank you!!

  • Reply tomwisk April 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Yep,, read Ayn Rand and thought she was the bee’s knees. Now, not so much. Grew up, read more.

    • Reply Amber West April 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      It’s entirely possible that if I had picked up ONE of Ayn Rand’s books of my own volition, I might have liked it. But the required reading, and the fact that we read several of her books, kinda killed it for me.

      I’m all for opening kids up to classics, but you have to get them on board with enjoying reading first!

  • Reply karenmcfarland April 23, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I wish I had a mom like your Amber. My mom didn’t like to read so we didn’t get any encouragement to pick up a book. I know, very sad. Especially when considering she was an English major. No, it doesn’t make sense. Let’s not dwell on it. This is a great idea. I think so many kids would benefit. I only wish I had books I could donate to the cause that were for this age group. I think this is awesome. 🙂

    • Reply Amber West April 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      I am very fortunate to have the mom I have (for many reasons, not just the love of reading). Thanks for the support, and feel free to share with anyone you think may be inclined to send books Katie’s way!

  • Reply Piper Bayard April 23, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Great idea, Amber! Thanks for organizing this.

    • Reply Amber West April 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Thanks for getting involved, Piper!

  • Reply Nessa Arcamenel April 24, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I would love to send a few books her way. But I would like to know what exactly a Title 1, at-risk district means and what type of books she is looking for. Please send any info to nessa@pdmipublishing.com. Thanks

    • Reply Nessa Arcamenel April 25, 2014 at 12:25 am

      I would also love to send you a couple of children’s books we have.

      • Reply Amber West April 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

        I’m answering some of this here for anyone else who has the same questions, but I’ve also sent you a personal email.

        I believe Title 1 schools have a large percentage of the school population at/above poverty level and “at risk” would refer to the risk of students not meeting the educational standards for Math/English/Science.

        Books she is looking for: you can check out the Amazon wish list linked above to give you a general idea. Basically, these are kids 16-18 who may not already have a love for reading, so books that would grab their interest – that means variety. Not every kid is going to like the same thing. I’m sending mostly YA, some John Green, Beth Revis, or anything that I find to be an easy read (a.k.a. the story grabs you and the prose isn’t too flowery/cumbersome).

        Thank you SO much for your interest in helping Katie build her library!

  • Reply Jenny Hansen April 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I was always allowed to read widely, and never censored, and I’m so happy for that now. I read across all genres and flat-out adore the written word. I’m sure I can find many, many books for Katie. (My hubs will want to build a shrine to you.) 🙂

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