Read it to me, again…

Books 2008

How many do you have?

Look at your shelves. How many books are there? Have you read them all? One’s cover is hardly hanging onto the spine. That one, you cannot read the spine because it is broken in so many places. This one’s so dogeared, it will not lie flat. What of these over here? Some, so pristine, while others well-loved. Achoo! Dust often?


Are you really going to read that? When was the last time you read it? Oh, I see. You were four, and your mother read it to you. Hmm. (Do you hear the “starving children in China” speech revving its engine?)

  • More than 60% of low income families own no books.
  • Over 40% of the lowest literacy rate live in poverty.
  • Only 4% of the highest literacy rate live in poverty.
  • Low income neighborhoods have ONE age-appropriate book per 300 children.
  • Middle income neighborhoods have 13 books per child.

Low income neighborhoods have the lowest (all the way to no) access to bookstores and have lowered access to smaller libraries, meaning fewer books.  Nationwide, schools are cutting budgets, and libraries are often the first to suffer those budget cuts. This means no new books.

Love it?

English: Two boys in Laos laugh over the book ...

Where did you learn to love reading?

How did you discover you loved to read? Someone was reading to you before you learned to do it for yourself. Nearly 60% of children increase their interest in reading simply by having books at an early age. The broader the range of reading material in the home, the more creative and proficient in reading the children are.

How much easier is it to learn something when you have read about something similar…or the exact same thing? No, you did not go to a one-room school house in the snow, uphill both ways. Need to bring it closer so you can understand?

The last time you went to a foreign place (country or county), you took a few minutes to read about it. You found out where you were going, what was of interest, where to find someone to help you, something to entertain you and/or when an event (whose history you had studied) was taking place. This is called continuing education.

It is all fiction.


Fiction spurs imagination.

From the pages of great works of fiction does imagination spring. Whether we are talking about the accepted classics or the author who has only one title in the repertoire, passing the baton is the responsible thing to do.


Each of us has one book which influenced us more than all the rest. Rarely do we meet someone who has the exact same book. How good would it make you feel to pass along a book which would inspire someone to create a new classic or wins a Pulitzer? Or give one to someone who contacts the one-book author begging for a sequel?

English: Three Lao girls sit outside their sch...

It would be cool.

Or pass one on to someone who becomes an inventor based on something they read in the sci-fi book you kept in your bathroom for a month? Or give one to someone who becomes a librarian or historian? Or pass one on to someone who becomes a photographer who captures the photograph of the century?

Literacy depends on access to books. You have to have something to read to learn how to read. You never learn to change oil without access to a car, how could reading be any different?

Do Something

1. Get some boxes. Stand in front of your bookshelf. Pull off books which:

  • You will never read again.
  • You have had more than two years, but still have not read.
  • You have not needed for reference in more than two years.
  • You have read at least three times.

2. Pack the boxes. Group books by genre, author or subject.

3. Call to see who needs books. Your local library always needs books. Since they may take duplicate titles, call in advance to be sure. But before you call there, begin with these:

  • Nursing home or assisted living facility
  • Veteran’s retirement agency
  • Oncology hospital unit (chemotherapy)
  • Blood donation facility
  • Dialysis clinic
  • Foster home agency
  • Special education agency (early intervention for children in need)
  • Children’s organization (scouting, citizenship)
  • School

Remember, many of these will also benefit from magazines. If the magazine is more than three months old, it is cluttering your home. Donate it to someone who has not yet read it.

4. Deliver the books.

Seeing the joy you bring someone is all the reward you will ever need. A tax write-off is merely a money-saving bonus. Clearing some clutter from your home is good for your allergen-prone sinuses.

I don’t have any.

Are all of your books on your e-reader? You can still help raise literacy rates.

  • Buy some children’s books to donate.
  • Contact and donate to a non-profit organization who takes donations to buy and deliver books.
  • Sponsor a Rock’n’Read program at a local elementary school.
  • Buy a magazine subscription for one of the facilities above.
  • Convince your friends to help you by donating their books and magazines or money.
  • Volunteer to deliver books.
  • Read to children at your local libraries and schools.
English: EWA BEACH, Hawaii (March 3, 2010) A S...

Give the gift of literacy.

Give the gift of reading.

You can give the gift of how-to or adventure or imagination or history to a child of any age. Just imagine what it would be like if you could not read this.


  • Where do you donate your books? 
  • When was the last time you dusted books you no longer read? 
  • What agencies are in your area providing book services? 
  • When was the last time you spoke with a librarian? 
  • What book most influenced your love of reading or self-realization?


Will you make a difference in a child’s life by giving a book?

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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Leave a comment


  1. Great post. We have a ton of books. As they lose interest, we donate them to the library.
    We also started giving to organizations that, among other things, give books to those that don’t have.
    And Barnes & Noble got a bunch from us this past holiday season.

    Ain’t nothing like a good book!

  2. I had a ton of Readers Digest books I read while I was severely ill and I donated them to the North Manchester General Hospital who were glad to get them! 🙂

    Because of my aging eyesight I can’t read too well (Thank God for the Internet!) but I will never forget those writers whose stories made a desperately bad childhood so much better!

    Love and hugs!


    • Books have an amazing place in all our hearts. The stories and the facts. So glad you chose a hospital. Sometimes, when things are really terrible, a book gives hope or a much needed laugh. {HUGZ} Red.

  3. Red, in our home, books are like old friends– and very difficult to weed out. Good plan to sort and donate though, we try! Even if the best of intentions are sidelined by reading an old dog-eared favourite each time the sorting is attempted….”:)) *sigh

    • The ones you still reread are fine to keep around. It is the ones you bought and lost interest. I own precisely no Steven King books, although I have read most of them. Why? I cannot stand them and would never dream of wasting enough time to read them again!
      The two and three year rules are very good at weeding out those we really are just dusting.

  4. Libraries need all the help they can get – even school libraries.

    • You are very correct about that! I was so disheartened the first time I went into the local elementary school library. They had wonderful shelves…but not even enough books to cover one-third of them. Travesty.

      Thank you for stopping by today, Mouse. Red.

  5. Great post! I donate my books to the military and/or prisons. Every time I move I go through my books and either give them to friends who might enjoy them, or donate. The book that most fueled my love of reading was “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.” I read it for the first time at the age of 8. I still love it.

    • Wow! I have not thought of that book in decades!! You have given me two very great additions for the list. I think I shall go back and edit in military and prisons. What a wonderful idea! Thank you, Susan. Red.

  6. The children’s books in our house end up getting worn out, so we never donate them. We repair them multiple times. My kids take books to bed every night, like a stack of them. My books– many of them I do use again, some of them I have given to people who would benefit. Magazines- the kids get highlights and high five, they read them and pass them on to another family. Also, I spoke to the librarian just about a week or so ago. We go there often. What book? I have read a lot of them. I used to read more fiction than I do now, but recently I have been reading books on spiritual formation, growth, discipleship and things like that. I have to think about which ones really did something special to me.

    • The children’s books often meet with a similar fate in our home. The books I read get recycled…period. I have my choice few which will be passed down, but for the most part novels and reference books find their way to new homes in due course.

  7. I was eight when I found myself in our village library. I remember saying “WOW” and someone I didn’t know smiling at me (the librarian?). I have a ton of books I canNOT part with. I DO re-read books. Also, I belong to a bookclub and sometimes (a) recommended book(s) are on my shelf so I have easy access. I volunteer at a used bookstore and donate books once in a while . . .My books are my friends. I smile at them and sometimes we touch when I pass. They are also holding up my house. I lend books to my friends but only if they treat them right—no food stains orbath/water/tea/soup/wine marks.

    You’re a tough cookie, Red. Please don’t MAKE me give away more than I can handle!

    • You do loan and donate out the words. That is a big part. I understand about them holding up the house. At one time I had more than 3,000 in the house. As my job dragged me around the US, I shed them along the way where they could do good for others. As I said earlier, there are some autographed copies, some which are from my childhood and some with phenomenal emotional value, whether as character shapers or sentimental gifts, which will wait for another generation before they leave my shelves. Red.

  8. I’m either addicted to books or have a lot more money than I think. My kid has about a hundred books, some she managed to tear up reading them so often. The covers have fallen off, then there are those that she ripped pages out of as she got frustrated learning to read…She turned five in December and has been reading for more than a year (currently at approximately a first grade level), she could recognize all her letters by age three…..

    • I have come to abhor reading levels. Little V reads far above her grade level. There are days I know it is nothing further than the barrage of vocabulary we go over. Then, we have a bout of complete nonsense and words even she cannot tell me what she meant to say. It has lead to some interesting definitions to say the least.

  9. I used to read rather a lot at one time, books that is but now with the computer and writing my own material I seldom get the opportunity to sit down with a good book. The last book that I read was Dracula, the unabridged version by Bram Stoker, which I truly recommend if you have not read that one before…

    I also enjoyed ‘Mort’ written by Terry Pratchett, I read that in half a day it was so exciting, though not all of his books are in that hard to put down category, but I do like his work…

    Hey I am wittering on again Red 🙂 lol

    Androgoth XXx

    • I read “Dracula” when I was still in middle school, but I save “Mort” for just after high school. A copy of it is on my desk at present. It is indeed a quick read.

      You definitely need some time between the covers. Even if you are reading on an e-reader 😉

      • Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my favourites…

        Thank you for your kind thoughts on my scripts,
        and I am pleased that you liked ‘Infinity’ as I don’t
        offer many in that genre…

        Have a lovely rest of evening Red 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  10. Along with writing, social networking and stewing at Helium, I try to read 2 – 3 books a week, on paper! I don’t care much for tablets, I like the feel of paper, and I also drop the read books off at the local hospital or senior’s home, depending on the books.

    • Oh, forgot – fav. book growing up were A Clockwork Orange, 1984, An American Poet (poetry by Jim Morrison of “The Doors”), and The Lord of the Rings. I was most influenced by A Brief History of Time, by ALS patient Stephen Hawking.

      • Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books of all time. I think it was better than 1984. Good books. And thank you for donating.


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