The past few days have been rough (I don’t need to tell you why, do I?) and I’ve been doing anything I can think of to take positive, helpful action as a citizen of this country and the world. My sanity strategy is partly self-care, partly taking care of others. To that end, tonight I went with my son to Barnes and Noble and bought a whole mess o’ books for needy kids! It was FUN!
See, my library system’s Friends of the Library organization is collecting new and very gently used children’s books for underprivileged families. Our community does this huge food giveaway at Christmas called the Empty Stocking Fund, and the Friends are providing a book or two to every person who gets a food box. They’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and it’s proven very successful. Bookstores are few and far between in the area, and even if a needy person can get to one they may not be able to afford to buy anything. Libraries are absolutely vital, but it’s also just so wonderful to be able to have books of one’s own in the home to read over and over again. I know that as a child my books were among my most prized possessions.
So I went a little crazy tonight and made some fun purchases. I bought board books for babies and toddlers, a couple of beginning reader/chapter books, and some books for middle grade readers. Here are my pics:
I made sure to choose some authors of color here too! Seriously, Christopher Paul Curtis’s Bud, Not Buddy is one of my very favorite books and you should all read it!
When I got to the register, the cashier was so excited about my purchases, exclaiming that I’d gotten some of her favorite childhood books. She also pointed out to me that our local Barnes and Noble is doing a book drive for a charitable organization called Mission of Hope, which provides Christmas gifts for needy Appalachian kids. So I bought another book at the register for that!
My point with all of this is not to get a cookie for my actions, but only to say that if you’re feeling anxious or sad or angry about what has transpired in the last week, or even if you’re not, there are so many opportunities for doing good. Perhaps your local Barnes and Noble (or other bookstore) is doing a similar book drive for the holidays? Check with your public library’s Friends of the Library organization and see if they’re collecting books for kids. Or maybe there’s a Boys and Girls Club nearby who could use some new books for their collection. We are stronger when we take care of one another, and what better way to channel your love of reading than to provide books to kids? I wholeheartedly believe that reading fosters empathy and understanding. So let’s try to get books into the hands of kids and grow some compassionate, educated kids, okay? As one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, says, “Onward!”