Well, I have to say that the decision to use International Book Giving Day as a platform to get books for my children’s not-very-well-stocked school library is one of the best ideas I’ve ever had!
The response has been incredible! I started off with around 120 books on my wish-list, and because the response has been so great I’ve now added 24 recent picture book titles. (And this was being extremely conservative as there are SO MANY amazing picture books the school library doesn’t have!) So far I have over 100 donated and pledged books, which is outstanding!
I made a wish-list on The Book Depository, as I read it wrong and was under the impression that if someone bought a book from the list then the book would come off the list. This seemed like a fool-proof plan to stop everyone buying the same books, but however when people started purchasing them I quickly realised it didn’t work like a wedding register, and I had to manually keep updating the list myself. This is also when I realised not everyone bothers to read the posts I put on the parent Facebook page because, although I quickly requested for parents to check before they buy and to let me know if they bought a book off the list, quite a few people didn’t so there are a few double ups on some titles. But never mind – they’re all wonderful books, and hopefully they’ll be popular enough to warrant having two copies! There have been a lot of very generous donations – some people buying two, three and four books at a time. There are people I didn’t expect to buy books who did, and others whom I thought would buy, who haven’t bothered – all very interesting! The result, however, is there are now over 100 fantastic new books going into the school library and I really hope the children will enjoy reading them.
Here are the books that have been collected so far, with more on the way!
But it isn’t just families from school who have donated books. I posted about what I’ve been doing on Twitter simply to get the word out about International Book Giving day, and I’ve had some incredible members of the Twitter writing community get in touch with me. Master book blogger @bookloverJo has not only given advice on both sorting out the library and on appropriate titles for the wish-list – she has now donated books as part of her own International Book Giving day! Blogger/author, Brindy Wilcox, has very generously donated several books with a view to continuing to do so. Successful authors Elli Woollard, Jennifer Killick and Gary Sheppard have pledged to send books, and The Catchpole Agency have kindly offered to look through their shelves for spare copies as well – all of which is completely amazing and totally unexpected! And my writer friends have also gotten in on the action – the very lovely Bonnie Bridgman and Frances Tosdevin have both donated books, as have members of my SCBWI critique group. As we aren’t meeting this month, Fiona Barker and Kate Poels West have bought books in lieu of buying drinks and nibbles at the bar where we usually meet. Fiona even rallied her daughter Amelie to the cause – wonderful Amelie generously clearing her bookshelves of a pile of books to pass on!
Yes, it’s a shame that a school has to rely on donations to fund its library. It’s a shame that the only librarian they have is an unqualified volunteer who just happens to be passionate about reading and books. But if we don’t encourage our children to read, if we don’t do everything we can to introduce them to wonderful stories by brilliant authors, then I really believe one day we will look back and realise it was a mistake. Theatre, film and television all have their places and shouldn’t be scoffed at – but without writers they wouldn’t exist. And books are where imagination really has to work, where we have to think and use our minds-eye to envision the things we are reading. Reading broadens and opens minds, it really does! And if you don’t start reading when you’re young, I think it’s something – more often than not – that people won’t do when they’re adults either.
Check out https://bookgivingday.com/ for more information on International Book Giving Day!