Christmas is an opportunity to give bookish gifts to friends and loved ones, and to help make small but important changes in the world. Here’s how.
Books as Presents
I’m not rushing out to do any Christmas shopping this year, but I have chosen books for several people. It’s always a pleasure giving books one has enjoyed, or one can borrow later.
And if you don’t know or are not sure whether Aunty Ethel will like Girl, Woman, Other, for example, you can always give her a book token. Children in other families often grow up faster than one can believe, so you lose track of what they might like. Again a book token can be the answer.
Books from Bookshops
Help independent bookshops this year by buying your book presents from them. They need your help. Many of them deliver. And to avoid lining the pockets of the uber rich on-line delivery firms you can use good on-line alternatives. I have been using bookshop.org which supports local independent booksellers. We may not have much political power, but we do have some economic power, and so spending our money on important things in the good places is something we can do.
Book Trust Christmas Appeal
Some of us want to support those working to get all children to become readers. Book Trust exists to get children reading. For a donation of £10 Book Trust will send a book to a vulnerable child for Christmas. This year there are 14,250 vulnerable children and children in care (1,800 more than last year) who can benefit from this scheme. Books to be sent this year include:
The Gruffalo Sound Book,
Elmer: A Classic Collection,
Through the Animal Kingdom,
Wild Lives and
Guinness World Records 2021.
Book Aid International and Reverse Book Tokens
This an organisation that in 2019 sent 1.2 million books to 19.5 million people in 26 countries. New and carefully selected books went to libraries, schools, universities, refugee camps, prisons and hospitals around the world. They should be celebrated for innovative ideas, such as the creation of libraries from disused shipping containers, a project in Rwanda.
Here’s where the books went:
Children and primary schools 493,209
Medicine and health 141,270
Reference and secondary schs 146,877
Higher education 91,275
Vocational, technical education 45,599
English language skills 20,190
[Statistics from the Annual Review]
You can support Book Aid International by making a donation, and/or by buying a ‘reverse book token’.
These special Book Tokens are a great idea for presents to support Book Aid International: you pay the money and someone else gets the books. For only £6 Book Aid International can send out three books. So a Reverse Book Token makes an excellent present and it supports Book Aid International. You can also join the Reverse Book Club to send a regular donation to the charity. A reader will thank you.
Happy Christmas and good reading to you all!