The local newspaper is helping collect toys for needy children again. I’m sure most of you have similar schemes somewhere near you. It’s good that they exist but absolutely awful that they have to.
I know I can go out and buy toys and give, and possibly also give money. But it’s books I want to give, and it’s what I’m best placed to pass on. As you well know, there are many spare books. Good ones. Books that could inspire and keep a child busy.
But will they accept them? (I know. I have to ask. I just haven’t done so yet.) It’s not so much that I wonder whether the needy children would like books. I’m sure they would. My question is more whether those in charge of collecting feel that books are fun enough for this purpose.
I have many good books I can give. Most show absolutely no sign of having gone through the reviewing process. And the sad thing is that the books probably don’t even have to be good. Sometimes any book will do. (I was aghast at the book lovingly read by the little girl at the gate at Geneva airport the other week. If it was her choice, or all she’d been given, I have no idea.)
You could say that needy children need toys, because books are something they can get from the library. True. But will they be taken to a library, I wonder? And for how long will we continue having libraries?
Owning your own book(s) might be the only way soon.
So I don’t want to give cars or dolls or teddies. I want the excellent books I’ve got spare to go to good homes where they will be appreciated. I hope that the children this charitable collecting is aimed at will be good homes for books. And if someone else gives dolls, then perhaps they can have more than one Christmas present?