Right now, everyone is in need of a good read. Part of our mission here at Literati is to provide book donations to children in underprivileged or overlooked communities and to nurture kids who need books to call their own. We believe whole-heartedly in the power of great stories to open developing minds—to provide an irresistible, irreplaceable escape into the magical world of fantastic beasts and inspiring humans.
With schools closed, we know that parents are struggling to find new ways to keep their children educated and engaged. Some parents can’t afford new learning tools like books, and our communities are scrambling to fill basic needs right now. So, while Austin Independent School District filled tummies with free meal-pick ups at schools every day, we took it upon ourselves to fill young imaginations with free books.
During the week of March 23-27th — the first week of an “extended” break from school here in Austin — we partnered with AISD to fill hearts as well as tummies. At a different school every day, Team Literati set up a book stand alongside AISD’s meal crew, garbed in PPE and ready to hand out book donations to one and all.
Through this partnership, we were granted permission from the City of Austin to leave our homes and give out stories alongside AISD lunches. We brought in books from our warehouse that have been stored for over three months and therefore carried little risk of contamination—but we recommended that parents give the covers a wipe-down, just in case. All Literati crew members wore proper protective equipment, and everyone kept a safe distance.
Cars lined up as families poured in to receive precious resources during this extended home time.
A book a day keeps anxiety away!
Throughout our five-day tour, we noticed a few cars that showed up at every school to pick up lunches and books. Cars filled with kids of all ages, single parents or sometimes just a loving grandmother—excited for not just a meal, but for a new book to read. We brought a different selection of books to every stop: stories of adventure, courage, and hope.
It was so heartening to see so many people in our Austin communities hungry for more!
One family’s minivan pulled up to each different school, where a 7-year-old boy joyfully stuck his head out of the window to collect his new book, and one for his little sister. When Literati crew member Vanessa remarked that she recognized him and his family from previous days, he answered, ”Well, I love books.”
And that is why we do what we do.
Can’t stop, won’t stop bringing the books.
In these five days, Literati found new, loving homes for 2,000 books—building off of last year’s 40,000 book donations. We’re aiming to reach 30,000 books donated to families while they are quarantined at home, and we’re so grateful to partnerships like AISD for recognizing that reading can be essential nourishment for children. We’re proud to serve our hometown in this strange time, when coming together makes everyone feel less alone.
How can you help?
If you’re a Literati club member, it’s easy to support the cause. If you have gently-used or outgrown books at home, use your Literati box and prepaid return label to send them to us! Shipping is always free. We’ll find new readers to love your preloved books.
For those who have already donated, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts! Keep them coming. Even if it’s just one book, everything helps. Especially now.