I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. Surprised? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
I grew up learning to read with tattered hand-me-down copies of Dr. Seuss and whatever else I could manage to get my hands on.
Being the middle child of a family of five kids and one income, new books were a luxury. Once in a very great while, my parents would give me just a few dollars to buy something new at the school book fair. But for the most part, my mom was kind enough to take us for regular trips to our tiny local library, where we could pick from what seemed like an endless supply of things to read.
I grabbed ancient copies of Nancy Drew from garage sales. I snagged psych books from a junk store that declared anything “educational” free for the taking when they closed down.
When I didn’t have a library book, or was through my Goodwill pile, I read the garage sale encyclopedias we kept in the house.
I grew up seeing my mom read during the rare times she had a moment to herself, and wanting to borrow her books when she was done. (Sidenote: I read Jane Eyre, only after my mother made me look up a list of words in the dictionary she wrote down while reading, telling me that I needed to look them up first so I would understand the book. My mom is awesome.)
We may not have taken trips to a fancy bookstore, filled with the smell of caramel lattes, and the shimmer of glossy book covers, but we were fortunate. We had parents who encouraged our love of reading and who found a way to get reading material for us.
Books were a precious commodity. They were something to be appreciated and treasured.
Now, as a mom, I love seeing that same love for reading and stories in my little boy.
Sadly, not every child is fortunate enough to have access to good books.
So, here is my request. As regular readers know, some time ago I started GoWithout here on the blog – an effort to encourage everyone to look at something they usually spend their funds on (like, say, your cup of Starbucks coffee), skip it, and spend that money on someone who needs it. Just a few dollars can mean the world to someone.
You all got creative. Those of you who were already forced to give up a lot for your own sake gave of your time. And many of you shared your stories here.
It’s been a little while since I’ve made any GoWithout requests. I wanted to do something new as part of the GoWithout effort early this year. I’ve been asked to guest on Rhonda Hopkins’ Authors Give Back series this month, so I knew I wanted to have something to share.
It occurred to me that in the course of working on a novel, I’ve made connections with a great number of people who likely have similar stories about their love for reading.
And the idea was born. Let’s get books to kids who need them.
- Are an author who writes for children, MG, or YA
- Have a favorite childhood book you can’t imagine a kid being without
…then you can take part. I’m highlighting two organizations (see below). If you have a book you’ve published that falls into the above category, or you’d like to purchase a book you couldn’t live without as a kid, send your book(s) to the following organization:
77 Cornell Street (#109)
Kingston, NY 12401
The Lisa Libraries donates new children’s books and small libraries to organizations that work with kids in poor and under-served areas.
This group came to my attention when I saw a photo on Facebook of my sister-in-law’s mom gathering books to restock a school library that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. I thought that was a great idea, and asked if there was a way we could help.
UPDATED: Lisa Libraries informed me that they will also accept gently used books and get them to places in need. Several of you in the comments mentioned that you have such items, so feel free to consider sending them their way. I’ve mailed large boxes of books before at book rate with the post office and found the costs very reasonable!
If you don’t have a book to give, but would like to donate cash, I recommend a second organization:
Mission Statement: Kids Need to Read works to create a culture of reading for children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged children.
This organization has some pretty awesome founders: PJ Haarsma, author of the uber-cool Softwire series (seriously, go check him out), and his good friend Nathan Fillion, two guys who get how important it is for all kids to have access to good reading material.
I’ll be talking more about this as the month goes on, and I’d love to hear from all of you. Let me know in the comments what books were your childhood favorites. Share your stories of how books inspired you. Then share this post with others!
Yesterday, my book was FREE for the taking on Amazon, and continues to be today. It’s been super fun giving the book to people who really wanted to read it.
So, let’s keep that awesome feeling going by giving to the kids.