It happens every year: just before the last weekend in November hard hats and hi-viz jackets appear at the war memorial. They have a cherry picker with them, and they hoist a tree upright, and place a star on top and then adorn it with lights. Christmas in our village starts here. Tomorrow will be the annual lantern parade, and off we go.
My list of bookish Christmas present
I love books and if I can please more than one person on my list with bookish presents I am very happy. I also like to benefit others, bookish charities and so forth, at the same time. Here is this year’s list.
Book Aid International and Reverse Book Tokens
This an organisation that deserves support for the excellent work it does. Based on the principle that BOOKS CHANGE LIVES, Book Aid International helps people overseas, and because our government has slashed the international aid budget, this kind of activity is needed all the more. They send new books to school and university libraries, to support young people and health professionals. They donate books to refugee camps, and other places where they are much needed which may have difficulty providing books.
For example, the University of Mosul was destroyed by ISIS, but Book Aid International committed to restoring the library. To date, it has provided 50,000 new books to replace those that were destroyed.
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. For only £6 Book Aid International can send out three books. So, a Reverse Book Token makes an excellent present. You can also join the Reverse Book Club to send a regular donation to the charity. A reader will thank you.
Book Trust Christmas Appeal
Some of us want to support those working to get all children to become readers here in the UK. Book Trust exists to get children reading. For a donation of £10 the Book Trust will send a book to a vulnerable child for Christmas. They support reading by children all year round and make recommendations for what to read next.
As a result of the Christmas appeal each vulnerable child will receive one of six hardback books, appropriate to their age. This year’s books include:
- Tales from Acorn Wood,
- Paddington Treasury,
- My Encyclopedia of Very Important Adventures,
- Weird but True 2022,
- The Mysteries of the Universe,
- Guinness World Records 2022.
Each child will also receive a special letter and a festive poster and bookmark designed and written by author-illustrator Ed Vere.
Prison Reading Groups
This year I have also supported Prison Reading Groups. This charity aims to support reading and reading groups in prison and the charity runs programmes to support prisoners reading with their families. You can make a donation here.
And if you don’t know or are not sure whether Aunty Ethel will like the latest Sarah Rooney or a replacement for that classic novel you borrowed ten years ago, you can always give her a book token. Children in other families often grow up faster than one can believe, and you lose track of what they might like. Again, a book token can be the answer.
Books as Presents
The people on my Christmas list are well provided for: they will each get a copy of the latest collection of writing from my writers group: More Gallimaufry.
Books from Bookshops
And for those who like to encourage independent bookshops please go there to get your bookish gifts. 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.
Happy Christmas and good reading to one and all!Bookish Christmas post