Monday, February 16, 2009
Stop! Don’t Throw That Book Away!
Last weekend I witnessed something that I didn’t know could really happen. Someone was actually about to throw a stack of perfectly good books into the (gulp) trash. As a children's author, this was a total shock to my system. To back up the story a bit, my husband is a certified appraiser who is often called upon to help people downsize and liquidate their estates. Since I am an avid lover of “junque” I accompany him as often as I can. We arrived at the house of a couple of empty nesters, ready to offer them advice about their estate. While eyeballing their “stuff” I noticed a large pile of children’s books by the back door. The pile included about 15 Dr. Seuss Books, a few Richard Scary books, 2 Eric Carle books, and an assortment of other very desirable children’s titles. I admired the books and (luckily) asked where the pile was headed. I almost fainted dead on the floor when these otherwise intelligent people announced that no one in their family wanted the books, so they were going into the trash. Expletive! Expletive! Expletive!
Here’s what I can’t understand. Aren’t we all aware of the high rate of illiteracy in this country? Don’t we want better education for our children? Don’t we realize that any education has to begin with the ability to read? Don’t we realize that many children in this country have never owned a book?
Don’t worry. The books that were destined for the trash are now safe with me. I’ll make sure they make it into the right (little) hands. There are literacy groups all over the country and probably right near where you live. For a start, just Google the word “literacy” along with the name of your city. There are also homeless shelters that would love to have your books. And there are daycare centers for homeless children in most large cities. There are pre-schools, elementary schools and libraries that would welcome you with open arms. You can even advertise for free on Craig’s List and people will come to your house to pick up the books.
If your children have outgrown their books, donate them. If you purchase a book for a birthday gift, purchase a second one to donate. If you are an author or publisher, donate your slightly damaged books.
C’mon people. Tell all your friends. Together we CAN make a difference.