Monday, June 18, 2012

"Epiphany", by the Fairy Bookmother.

On a dark day in December, "Appalled of Harringay" learnt of the statistic that one in three children do not own a single book.
"That's real poverty", she cried (for it was a she).
"This is a situation up with which we cannot put", she continued.
She ran (stopping only to catch the 141 bus) to the Big Green Bookshop for a why-oh-why session with Tim and Simon. When calm had been restored, they put their heads together and the Fairy Bookmother Intiative (FBI) was inaugurated, its aim being to share the enjoyment of reading & work towards raising literacy and reducing book-poverty amongst children in the borough of Haringey.

Using a donation from the Fairy Bookmother, the Bookshop supplied books to certain schools in the borough with the remit of getting the books into the hands of those children who were least likely to own a book. This proved tricky, but it was a START.
The Fairy Bookmother is not a millionaire philanthropist (with or without a youthful ward) and is therefore looking for people who share her outrage and would be willing to join with her in further developing the FBI. This may mean a small donation or something less tangible.
She wishes to remain anonymous, at least outside the group, but if anyone is interested in helping out in any way please contact the bookshop.
You could be an individual, a business or maybe you are someone in Haringey Council who may have the facility to take this initiative to another level. Whoever you are, if you think you can help, please get in touch.


Tel. 020 8881 6767


Andrea said...

I have found, though, that even though we have World Book Day every year, where children get a free book for that token, I have very few (percentage-wise) taking up the offer.
I was told by a couple of parents that the schools hadn't even given the Tokens out.
I have also been approached several times since the end of March by parents whose children didn't spend the tokens in time.

It's a lovely thing that you're doing, it really is, but I wonder how many of those children who have the Book Token and don't spend it can be counted among those that don't have books at home?

Simon Key said...

Hello Andrea,
I love the idea of World Book Day and what it acheives is fantastic. Being a blanket nationwide celebration, it is really hard to target children who would really benefit from the free book. I certainly know of many more than 2 schools in Haringey who didn't give out the tokens, which is a real shame.
I suppose this is the biggest stumbling block we face. How do you find the kids who would benefit from this the most.
We're holding a meeting in July for all those who are interested in helping out in one way or another and i'm sure this will be top of the agenda.
The books we have given to schools so far seem to have reached kids who were really grateful to get them. We had some wonderful thankyou cards and pictures from a lot of them and it clearly meant a lot.
I'm sure that we're not going to change a whole culture, but if we can get a few more kids excited about books then this has surely got to be a good thing.
I really appreciate what you've written here and I hope we'll be able to find a couple of the answers.

Andrea said...

I guess the best way is to get the schools to make sure the right child gets the books.
Another might be to send some to local children's homes or Women's refuges?

Jess said...

Hmmm. This is a tricky one. I'm an (ex) secondary school English teacher and schemes to get books into schools are great but they don't usually have the impact you'd like.

Once the book is given to the child it takes someone to ask about how it's going to encourage them to finish.

It's also really useful to be able to reccommend something for them to read next. Giving one book and hoping something clicks is always going to get mixed results.

How about starting a book club for kids which is advertised in schools?

Or a more informal drop in time where kids can come in and discuss what they're reading and get inspiration for their next read?

Happy to help out with anything you come up with!