How many books do you have on your night table? On your bookshelf? Chances are pretty good that the total is more than 20. Did you know that in the middle ages people used to travel for days to a library with a major holding of 20 books?
It’s crazy to think of that, but back when the monks did the “publishing” it took one monk 20 years to create one Bible. If you think about each book taking that long, well, you can understand how exciting 20 different books in one location could be.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting yet another one of my girl scout “So What’s the Story?” workshops to a group of teens. This time our group met in Hellertown, PA and had 79 participants. I shared the history of the book, my massive pile of rejection letters, and read from my novel WHAT I MEANT… And at the end of it all I signed copies of my novel for each girl that was there. But, most importantly, each girl there also donated books from their own collections and together we designed inspirational bookmarks that would go in those volumes.
And the really great thing about all this is that now I get to give those books to my local shelters! Through these workshops over the past 2 years, the teens I’ve met with and I have probably put more than 2,000 books in the hands of children who are homeless. The gratitude I’ve gotten from the shelters is phenomenal, and I’ve been told that for many of these kids, these books have been the only ones they have ever owned.
I can’t think of a more simple way to help someone, and I’m so touched that our book drives have continued to make such a difference to children and teens throughout our area. So I’m putting out this challenge to everyone in cyberspace. Got books, whether for adults or kids? Ones you’ve outgrown or that you don’t plan on rereading? Then why not donate them to your own local shelters? Google the shelters in your area and find out what their hours are for donations, and then you too can pass on the knowledge and joy and hope that every book can represent.
Next week I’m looking forward to visiting Frankford High School in Philadelphia with fellow authors Jonathan Maberry, Solomon Jones, Don Lafferty and Keith Strunk. We’ll be chatting with students and also bringing the school district a tremendous stash of donated books from ourselves and from our fellow authors in The Liars Club. It’s a part of the school district’s Read for your Life literacy drive, and it creates yet another opportunity for you…if you live in the Philadelphia area, you too can donate books to these needy classrooms. Check out this link for what they’re looking for and where to send your books.
Right now I’m looking at boxes and boxes of donated books filling my family room. Picture books and early readers and novels and non-fiction. Beautiful titles. And I know that by the end of this week, scores of kids who really need them will have these books in their own hands to treasure.
I can’t imagine having a library with only 20 books. And I certainly never want to think of what it’d be like to never own a book of my own. So spread the joy, folks, donate your books, and because of YOU many other people will be proud book owners too.