Today, on Valentine’s day, I’m delighted to spread my love for a beautiful cause. It’s an initiative started by Amy to get books – new, used or borrowed – in the hands of as many kids as possible.
This day, marked as International Book Giving Day, celebrates the joy of giving/donating books and contributing our bit to transform the lives of our kids.
Transform, yes! For, books do just that. These words by Christopher Morley sum up the power of books in the most poetic way:
Lord! when you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.
Read on to know how you can help get a book in a child’s hand. Also, see a list of organizations and charities that need children’s books.
What I’m doing to celebrate International Book Giving Day
- I’m taking a pile of books to a local pediatrician’s clinic where kids can browse, enjoy and read (or be read to) while they wait with their parents outside the doctor’s room. I’ve visited this clinic only once with Pari and while we waited for our turn – for nearly an hour – Pari and other kids could have really enjoyed a book or two. But there wasn’t any. Not a single book for kids. Sigh! Only a few newspapers and some business magazines!
- Starting today – for the next one week, I’ll be donating books – new and used – through various other channels.
- I’ll be spreading the word in as many ways as possible. I’ll send this article to family and friends so they can participate in their own way. I’ll spread the word through my Facebook page, Twitter and other forms of social media.
- I’m curating a list of organizations/non-profits in India that need books for kids. I’ve started a list below. Please send me the name of any such organization that need books and I’ll add to the list.
What YOU can do to get involved in this cause
There are various ways that you can bring books closer to kids. Here are some ideas for you to contribute at an individual or corporate/company level.
- Leave an appropriate book in the waiting room/lounge of a hotel, railway station, airport, hospital or any place where kids are likely to find
- Leave a book or more in a doctor’s clinic, like I’m going to do – in a pediatrician’s office
- Donate books for kids of your domestic help, office boys, security personel in your apartment complex
- Donate a few age-specific books to a non-profit organization (see a list below)
- Organize a storybook-reading session in your neighbourhood. Read a story and then give away books to the kids
- Having a birthday party for your child? Give books as party favours/return gifts along side chocolates etc.
- Gift a book to a child in your family or friend circle
- Surprise your kid today – by wrapping up a book of his/her choice and leaving it on the bedside table for him/her to discover!
A few ideas speicifically for corporates/companies/organizations:
- Set up a children’s library/book corner within your office premises so that employees can take home books for their children and return after the child has read. This can be co-created by the office and the employees in a way that each employee donates at his/her will every month
- Donate children’s books to a local library, non-profit organization, charity
- Do an auction to support the cause for literacy and reading
If you’re not a blogger, just leave a comment below to let know about your contribution. There’s also a facebook page of the book giving day cause, where you can post about your contribution and encourage others to do so.
Here’s a list of organizations (in India) that you can donate books to:
While I’ve done the research, you can find out more about any of these organizations to see which one you would like to donate to.
- ‘Donate a Book’ Initiative by UNESCO and The Times foundation
- Pratham and Pratham Books: Pratham is the largest non governmental organisation working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. Pratham’s flagship program, ‘Read India’, helps to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of the children in the age group of 6-14 years. As part of this programme, Pratham Books publishes affordable and quality books for children in multiple Indian languages. Their mission is to see “a book in every child’s hand” and democratize the joy of reading.
- Karma Yog ‘Donate Books, Receive Books’: Karmayog.org is a resource that enables you to “Improve Your World” by connecting you with like-minded people and organisations in your locality, city and world. They have online as well as physical presence. They have started a successful all-India campaign called – ‘Donate Books, Receive Books’ – to enable any person from across the country to donate books to any public library, school, college, hospital, NGO, Trust, etc.
- Hippocampus – HRF works towards inspiring children from disadvantaged communities to read more by setting up ‘Active Libraries’ in government schools and community centres in partnership with other NGOs.
- Deepam – is a registered non-profit organization conceived with the goal of bridging the divide between literacy and education among less-privileged children in Chennai
- Ashray Akruti - is a registered nonprofit, non religious organization working for hearing impaired children and normal children without hearing impairment from underprivileged backgrounds. Established in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh in 1996, Ashray Akruti runs a school with a residential facility for hearing impaired children
- Katha – Their objective is “To enhance the joy of reading”. They run 2 story centres, translate books into various Indian languages and promote reading in schools
- Eklavya – is a non-profit, non-government organisation that develops and field tests innovative educational programmes and trains resource people to implement these programmes. It functions through a network of education resource centres located in Madhya Pradesh
- UC: US is an initiative to channel investments to Education, Health and Energy & Environmental services sectors, in order to improve access to these services especially for the poor
Also check out this list of schools, day-care centres and non-profit prganizations in India that need books right now. This list has been put up by Pratham Books who received emails from the concerned people. The list also mentions other details like – type of books they want and the age-group of kids. Please have a look so you can donate for #BookGivingDay.
Plus, here’s a link to 125 organization/charities from around the world that need your help. Have a look to get started.
I’d love to hear from you about your contribution. Also, do share any other ideas/ways by which we can donate books for children – in the comments below.
Finally, please share this article with your family, friends, colleagues to support the cause for – getting a book in every child’s hand. Thank you all and Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Book Giving Day.