Last week, a very special woman with a lovely idea reached out to me. Her mission - to bring quality books to more children. . .something she's decided to start up all on her own. Not only am I always impressed by people who see a problem and are ready to do something to change it. But as a children book blogger/writer, there was no way I could glance the other way!
So, please welcome Laura Duncombe!
Thanks so much for having me. One of my favorite things about the internet is getting to e-meet wonderful people who I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. I’m honored to be guest-posting on Tonja’s blog.
My story starts with books. Since I was a kid, I have always loved being read to and later, reading to myself. A good story does more than entertain—it can shape your life. We all remember a book we read as a child that has stuck with us for years and years. My mother read me so many wonderful books that taught me to respect all people and cultures, take care of the earth, and think outside of the box. Those lessons made me into the adult I am today. Now that I have a child, I am very careful about what I read to him because I know that the words and stories he hears will have a huge impact on what kind of man he becomes. Simply put: I believe with all my heart in the power of books.
So, 2016 has got me pretty bummed. There’s a lot of fear and anger and hatred in the political sphere and plenty of tragedy at home and abroad. I got really tired of weeping over the evening news wishing I could build a really big bubble and shield my loved ones from any pain, so instead I decided to do something about it. I started Books Banish Bullying with the idea that books can change lives, and that a good children’s book is really a seed for a better future. I knew that there were school libraries all over the country desperate for new books and small children who have not yet learned it’s “uncool” to love reading. If I could connect these kids and libraries with beautiful, vital books, then I would be doing my part to make sure that the future will be dominated less by hateful rhetoric and anger and more by acceptance and understanding. That’s our mission—to spread creativity, earth stewardship, and love through books.
We have a website, www.booksbanishbullying.com. On it you can find our story, as well as the list of books we are collecting. This changes often due to what’s available in hardback and suggestions from friends and readers. There’s a link to our Amazon wish list, which sends the books straight to me, as well as to our paypal site (which is used to pay shipping costs.) That’s it! It’s really easy to send us a book—just a few clicks on Amazon.
Right now we are a pretty small operation. It’s just me and my spare bedroom, which I use as an office while my baby naps. We are in the process of getting our 501.c.3 nonprofit status from the IRS, which is a fun legal jumble of paperwork. I hope we will continue to grow and grow, because I have spoken to librarians all across the country and heard their stories and I want to just shower them in books. As we evolved and develop, it has been truly amazing and awe-inspiring to see the books come in. The postwoman calls me “the book lady,” which is the best nickname ever.
To anyone out there thinking about starting a nonprofit, just go do it!! I’ve never done anything like this before but I just felt so strongly that I had to do something. If you’re feeling that in your heart, do it! I believe in you. This is your sign from the universe that now is the time.
Thanks again for having me! And thanks for all you do to share the magic of books. Book bloggers (and writers, like Tonja) are my heroes.