Free Books for Kids

There are problems that are gnarly and hard and take years or millions or both to solve.

Then there are problems that, relatively speaking, are easy to solve.

Like getting books into the hands of Prince Edward Island children, something the PEI Literacy Alliance has undertaken to do with its simply-named Free Books for Kids project:

Each month, enrolled children receive a high quality, age-appropriate book in the mail, free of charge. Children receive books from birth up to their fifth birthday.

This project, launched last week, was almost instantly fully subscribed, the CBC reported:

We thought we would spend a year encouraging people to register and promoting it and all that sort of stuff, so we were very shocked,” said P.E.I. Literacy Alliance executive director Jinny Greaves.

Within 24 hours we had exceeded our goal for year one, and we’re really going to try … within the next weeks or months or a little bit more to be able to serve another additional 1,000 children or maybe even more.”

Last week my mother told me that a Lorraine Eastwood, librarian at the Waterdown Public Library, a short walk from my high school and a refuge therefrom, died this summer. In her memory, upon reading that a project to give free books to kids was too popular, I made a $100 donation to the PEI Literacy Alliance.

You’re probably saying to yourself right about now, “can I do that too?!” 

And you can: just go here to donate. It takes about 58 seconds.

I was telling my friend Martin about this on the weekend, and he said “that could be a contribution to making PEI Canada’s first Heaven on Earth province.”

Martin has, with uncommon patience and candour, been wearing down my natural cynical resistance to his Project Heaven on Earth, which he introduces with:

There is a desire, a longing, in each of us for a world that works.

A statement that’s hard to argue with. 

And so this is, indeed, a small contribution to that.

With an important coda: once you make your generous donation to providing free books for kids, please ask someone else to do the same thing.

This is easy to do, in my experience, as getting behind the idea providing free books for kids is roughly equivalent to getting behind the idea of providing free oxygen to kids.

The word will spread.

The program will re-open its floodgates.

All kids who request them will receive books in the mail every month.

And there will, indeed, be a world that, at least a little bit, works.


Jinny Greaves's picture
Jinny Greaves on October 6, 2020 - 16:00 Permalink written.