GIVE TILL IT FEELS GOOD!

For a while now I’ve made it a point to donate $25 a week, every Friday, to charity. I’ve given a little money to a lot of good causes, and from the beginning I’ve had a tendency to lean toward organizations that support literacy, a love of reading, and the dissemination of books. This week, I thought I’d share a few of these organizations in the hope that a few of you Fantasy Author’s Handbook fans also have a little money to give, and might want to, like me, support new generations of readers. And readers are any author’s most valuable ally, after all!

So I give you, in no particular order, these eight organizations out of many more worthy causes, with descriptions copied directly from their web sites so I don’t misrepresent them in any way. Follow these links and give until it feels good!

 

Open Books

Transforming lives through reading, writing, and the awesome/unlimited/amazing/giving power of used books.

https://www.open-books.org

Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books.

Through our Literacy Programs, we transform students’ reading and writing skills through experienced educators who deliver innovative instruction, passionate volunteers who serve as positive role models and provide enthusiastic support, safe learning environments for practice, exploration, and social-emotional growth, and access to high-quality books and tailored curricula.

 

Barbershop Books

Help black boys ages 4-8 to identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space and by involving men in boys’ early reading experiences.

https://barbershopbooks.org/about-us/

Barbershop Books is the debut program of Reading Holiday Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literacy organization in New York City. Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops and provides early literacy training to barbers across America. We leverage the cultural significance of barbershops in black communities to increase boys’ access to culturally relevant, age appropriate, and gender responsive children’s books and to increase out-of-school time reading among young black boys.

 

First Book

Providing equal access to quality education for kids in need since 1992.

https://firstbook.org

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand new, high quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 375,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need.

Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 175 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.

 

Little Free Library

Building Community/Sparking Creativity/Inspiring Readers

https://littlefreelibrary.org

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

 

Room to Read

We Believe that World Change Starts with Educated Children

http://www.roomtoread.org/about-us/

We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world.

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.

 

ProLiteracy

Help us raise adult literacy rates to improve lives worldwide.

https://www.proliteracy.org

ProLiteracy promotes adult literacy through content development, programs, and advocacy. Our goal is to help literacy programs increase the quantity and quality of services provided.

 

826 National

Inventive Resources to Ignite a Love of Writing

https://826national.org

Founded in 2002 by internationally acclaimed author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia inspired a network of creative writing and tutoring centers now eight cities strong: San Francisco, Ann Arbor/Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. The 826 National office was established in 2008 to serve the growing educational network by providing strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of the 826 network.

826 National’s chapters offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. They also aim to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Their mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with individualized attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

 

BookTrust

At Book Trust, all our work revolves around a single, sad fact: There are thousands of children in America who would like nothing better than to read, but have no books.

http://www.booktrust.org/about/

It might seem surprising that so many kids in one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t get their hands on a simple two-dollar book. But the picture is pretty stark—in low-income areas, there is just 1 book for every 300 children.

We empower kids from low-income families to choose and buy their own books, all through the school year. And our focus on book choice and ownership is no accident. Studies show that children are much more likely to read books that they choose,and having books at home brings proven benefits. We’re all about helping kids build home libraries full of books they want to read, and helping teachers use those books in the classroomto build healthy habits of reading and learning.

Best of all, our approach really works. Over a school year, the percentage of Book Trust students reading at grade level jumps from 31 percent to 59 percent.

 

That should be a good start, but feel free to share other similar organizations you’ve found, or who serve your community!

 

—Philip Athans

 

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About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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