Thoughts on a Thursday: It Is About The Giving

This week and last week I have begun to see a lot a memes about what would we would like Santa to leave under our trees. We spend a lot of time making wish lists and coveting books and talking about how we can’t wait for this book or that and often forget that there are those for whom reading is a luxury. So today my thoughts are about giving and not getting; about how it won’t matter if e-readers kill paper books if no one is able to read them. With that in mind, this year instead of buying one book take that money and give it to one of these organizations which struggle to make sure that books and reading are and remain relevant.
  1. Behind the Book – “Behind the Book’s mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. We bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills, and create a community of life-long readers and writers. Our programs take place in NYC’s underserved public schools, are part of the class curricula and meet the Common Core Standards. We believe that every student deserves the freedom that comes from the ability to read and think independently.”
  2. Book Aid International – Book Aid International increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. We provided 516,138 new books to over 2,000 libraries last year alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954.
  3. The Comic Book Project – The Comic Book Project engages children in a creative process leading to literacy reinforcement, social awareness, and character development, then publishes and distributes their work for other children in the community to use as learning and motivational tools.
  4. First Book – First Book President, Kyle Zimmer, founded First Book with two friends in 1992 to create an organization dedicated to providing new books to children in need. In that first year, First Book distributed 12,000 books in three communities – we are now proud to deliver more than 35,000 new books on average per day.
  5. Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT) – Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, Inc. (LIT) is the only non-profit organization of its kind working to end illiteracy among New York’s incarcerated young people by inspiring them to read.
  6. Reading is Fundamental – Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. We prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. We inspire children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice. RIF provides new, free books for children to choose from and make their own.
  7. Reach Out and Read –  Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age.
  8. Room To Read – We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world. To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education.  We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.
  9. Set of school textbooks from Save the Children – It may seem a simple gift, but a school book is a very powerful way to help a child out of poverty. In poor countries, many families cannot afford textbooks, making it hard for a child to learn.  Your gift will help a child turn over a new page and receive a better education
  10. United Through Reading – United Through Reading is the nation’s first nonprofit to promote the read-aloud experience for separated military families.  United Through Reading offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections and cultivates a love of reading.  At nearly 200 recording locations worldwide, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors, National Guard, Reservists and Airmen, can read to their children from units on ships, in tents in Afghanistan, on bases and installations around the world and at 70 USO centers worldwide.