What was your most beloved book as a child? From Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess to Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree, Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy or Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, we are shaped by the stories we read, share and love. A Good Book Drive is putting a call out for book lovers to share a new copy of their favourite kids book with a new generation of readers. The first annual drive, launching November 1, aims to collect 3,000 books to build a brand-new library for East Vancouver literacy program the Writers’ Exchange.
The need for literacy programs in inner-city Vancouver is evident; schools designated as “inner-city” are located in communities where crime rates are high, and a large percentage of the population has low education levels and receives income assistance. The children growing up in these neighbourhoods and attending inner-city schools are struggling with reading and writing. Since September 2011, more than 400 children who attend inner-city schools have participated in Writers’ Exchange programs, which make literacy exciting and accessible through free mentoring and creative writing projects. After a year of attending Writers’ Exchange programming, 85% of kids reported that they like to read, 89% like to write and 90% of grade 4 to 7 children achieve their homework goals.
The only program of its kind in Vancouver, the Writers’ Exchange currently serves 250 children aged 5 to 18, with the support of 150 trained volunteer mentors, and will be opening a new facility in January of 2013 that will increase the number of inner-city children served to more than 500. The new, dedicated space will house after-school tutoring for all ages and subjects, an expanded writing-workshop schedule and family literacy programs. And books are the heart of all Writers’ Exchange programs. “Some of the kids the Writers’ Exchange works with have never seen a book before starting kindergarten,” says Sarah Maitland, Co–Project Director. “Opening our space with shelves packed with thousands of new books just waiting to be read by the kids and their volunteer mentors will help us achieve our vision—that every child will have the literacy skills needed to access a world where anything is possible.”
Running through the month of November, A Good Book Drive will be supporting and inspiring Vancouverites to purchase a new copy of their favourite kids book and deliver it to set locations throughout the city including Collage Collage, Nelson the Seagull, Union Wood Company and more. There, donors will be able to personalize their donation with a special bookplate, sharing their own story of why that book is special. By permanently placing those stories within the cover of the books, Writers’ Exchange participants will read the personal narratives and learn about the impact of that book on someone else’s life.
Established by Rain City Chronicles, a live storytelling event and organization in Vancouver, A Good Book Drive was inspired by the way adults talk about kids books. “When people tell me about childhood memories of reading, they share incredibly rich stories,” says Lizzy Karp, A Good Book Drive Co-Creator and Co-Founder of Rain City Chronicles. “Our passion for storytelling is influenced by what and how we read as a kid, so we wanted to create an element in this book drive to celebrate those stories,” adds Cory Ashworth, A Good Book Drive Co-Creator and Morning Host of 102.7 The Peak. “We want an opportunity to reflect on the books and powerful stories that impacted our lives in big and small ways.”
A Good Book Drive will be sharing images and stories of the books donated throughout the month of November, and host a wrap-up party featuring Vancouver book lovers of all ages reading children’s books on November 30 at Nelson the Seagull.
To learn more and receive updates on A Good Book Drive, please visit: