Daily Archives: August 2, 2010

Readers and Writers Go Green for Literacy

A Heart for Books and KidsThe mantra, “Reuse, Reduce and Recycle,” has become a battle cry for the younger generations.  Going green is a necessity in our high-production world.  But there’s one thing I hope never goes totally green.  Book Production.

I hope and pray that bound books will continue to grace the homes and hands of people across the globe.  Yet, the sad reality is that even now, books are a luxury and not a staple in many houses.  In fact, reading is almost nonexistent in some homes. 

Consider this:

  • Books cost money.  It is virtually impossible to buy a book for under $4.00 now a days.  Many picture books and novels range in price from $7 to $15.  Hardcovers are upwards of $20.  About the only place to still find a $2.00 book is through school book orders.
  • Low income homes–and even many middle class families–do not have expendable cash.  Period.  When rent and food suck up every penny parents make, buying a $14.99 picture book is not high on the priority list.  And until children enter kindergarten, these families are not exposed to book order options.
  • Books require literacy.  Preschool children can not read to themselves.  They need parents or caregivers to read to them. 
  • And when approximately 40 million adults read at a fifth grade reading level or lower, that’s a whole lot of children not getting a bedtime story.  The only way to break the illiteracy cycle is to expose children to books at a young age and keep them interested in the written word as they grow.
  • Books take up space.  Seriously, this sounds ridiculous, but there are homes where space is a precious commodity.  There are also circumstances where space is never your own.
  • Children in large families with small homes simply do not have room to squeeze in a bookshelf.  Personal belongings are few and far between.  Additionally, children in unstable family units–foster care, women’s shelters, house hopping, etc–cannot drag boxes of books with them and often have to leave behind any previous possessions. 

So who suffers?

  • Children in poverty or low-income families.
  • Children in foster care with little or no personal belongings.
  • Children of victims of domestic abuse who are bumped from one household to another.
  • The next generation.

What can we do? 

  • Go Green.  Recycle your gently used or new books to children who do not have the luxury to buy books whenever they are in need of a good bedtime story.  A Heart for Books and Kids has a resource list of places you can deliver your books to ensure they get in the right hands. 
  • Partner with A Heart for Books and Kids and let us know where you will distribute your books.  Be creative with your distribution.   
  • Spread the word.  Tweet, FB or blog about your efforts to GO GREEN FOR LITERACY.  Link back to A Heart for Books and Kids so others can go green too.
  • Learn about literacy.  Check out your local literacy council and find out what you can do to help foster the love of literature in your community.

This FREE project was created by three caring and motivated readers and writers of children’s literature.  TK Richardson is the author of a YA novel, Return the Heart.  Lisa Gibson reads, writes and reviews YA lit.  Jody Wacker is a repped writer of juvenile lit from picture books through young adult novels.  Together, they have extensive professional experience in child-centric careers and all volunteer in community programs that benefit children.  

To learn how you can give the gift of literacy to a child, click on the icon above or visit any of their websites. 

How do you help foster literacy in your life?