Just this week Random House celebrated fifty years of Harriet the Spy. Harriet the Spy was life changing for me, in every way. In fact I think I may have been more than just best friends with Harriet. I grew up in an era where girls did not wear jeans. I astonished our family by being a girl child who was not happy in a pinafore and so was doomed to wear nylon corduroy trousers – this was the era of polarnecks folks. I like to think that “fashion of the day” knew no better. Harriet rescued me, here was a girl that wore jeans and a hoodie and sneakers. Overnight I wore jeans, a hoodie and sneakers… and all was well with my world.
I can go on… I never ate sandwiches ever, or tomatoes for that matter – but because of Harriet I ate tomato sandwiches for school lunch for months, if not years. Because of Harriet, I kept a journal, and I filled it full of wildly interesting facts about the neighbours and people watching became a favourite past time. If it wasn’t for Harriet I may never have discovered jeans, eaten tomatoes or started a journal and all those things are such a part of my life today. Also, without Harriet I probably wouldn’t have sneaked into the neighbours house and hidden under their coffee table… and written down a list of the books they had lying on it… as one does.
The point of this post is not necessarily to rapture on about Harriet the Spy and the benefits of wearing Jeans – but the point of this post is that books can be life-changing. And not just for children. Right now we are trying to create a library for a community of children that have no books worth mentioning… For me the problem is not so much that they don’t have books but the fact that they don’t have book friends that can transport them into another world or rescue them from a bad day. There are no Harriets for these children… and no Laura’s to teach them about living in the Wilds. No Anne’s to keep them laughing, with her classroom antics. Honestly I can’t imagine a life without Tom painting a fence. It isn’t just the childhood friends, even wise adults had a huge impact on my life – can you imagine not gleaning the wisdom of Atticus Finch.
I cannot conceive how difficult it must be for adults with low literacy to survive in the world… Shopping, filling in bank forms, finding your way on a map… must be close to impossible. We all know that there is more to it than that – a life without the rich friendships that we find within the pages of a book is really difficult to grasp.
And on that note… we are halfway – already, through our month of creating a community library… We really need your help… This is a dream of ours to provide books to children around our country, who would otherwise not have access to books at all. We have done it before with the help of all of our readers and we are hoping you would like to join us again. If you want to know more about the library that we are gathering books for then follow the link.
How Can You Help?
Step 1: Select a Book or Books
- You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love.
- You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
- You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
- And you can shop on-line, locally at Loot, and ship directly as well.
While all the students do learn English, it is not their first language. Most of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language and about twenty percent of them have Xhosa as their first language. Do not let language hold you back, they do learn English in school. English books are welcome, so are books in Afrikaans and Xhosa. Any books will be great, story books, picture books, craft books, cook books, reference books… really any books. There is a large community being served here. If you are shopping overseas and would like to buy local language books then click on the South African vendor to find books and they will deliver locally for you.
Step 3: Let us Know All About the Books You Chose
We would love if you could photograph the books you are sending, if you shop on-line then just send us a list of the books that you ordered. If you have a blog and write about it then let us know and we will have a Progress Post each week. I will pop the photo’s you send into the post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well…
We are so excited about this project and we really hope that our readers seize the day and join us… it doesn’t have to be huge… if even one percent of our readers pop a book into an envelope and post it off… we will have a library!!! So here’s to hoping that we hear from you all really soon… leave a comment saying you would like to join us, contact us… Please share this post… whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you!!!
We know that a project with a deadline often works better so could we aim to get our books in the mail around the middle of March. That gives you a couple of weeks to choose a book or two and post them on…
Disclosure: The Amazon and Loot links are affiliate links and our blog will earn a very small percentage of the book sales made there, we pledge to put any of our earnings from books for the school directly back into buying more books for them… this is their project and we don’t in any way want to gain financially from it.