Friday, 21 December 2012

Giving Santa a Helping Hand, Bringing a Book to Poverty Stricken Kids This Xmas…

Over the past month I've had the pleasure of having many fantastic readers and writers join me in my Campaign to get Santa to put a book in every stocking, by writing to the Man-in-Red suggesting stocking filler books. It’s been great fun reading peoples letters to Santa as we all believe that ALL children love reading it’s just that some haven’t found the right book yet, so helping Father Christmas find the right book for each stocking has been very rewarding.

However it is a sad truth that some children are poverty stricken and can’t afford even a stocking to hang for Santa to fill. These children are amongst us, and we probably pass them every day. These children may well not receive any gifts as their parents can barely afford to put food on the table, let alone buy presents. As we all know Santa's Sat-Nav locks on to stockings, so he may be liable to miss these children altogether.  

So it’s time for us to give Santa a helping hand! Today I ventured in to Oxford, to the Blackwell’s Book Shop, as I had heard a rumour of Christmas goodwill.  Goodwill, I found in the form of the ‘Children’s Book Tree’ in the children’s department. The Children’s Book Tree has tags on it, and has a description of a child, (gender, age, reading ability & likes) that is from a disadvantaged back ground, who otherwise would not get any Christmas presents. You can pick a tag off the tree and buy a book, for that child. The book is then gift wrapped and the gift tag (that you write a message on) attached and delivered to the child.

I love this idea and chose a tag for a ‘Six year old girl who loves to laugh’, therefore buying ‘Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head’ by Kjartan Poskitt and David Tazzyman. Whilst paying for the book I spoke to the lovely sales assistant who told me that they have already sold, wrapped and distributed over 270 books. She then pointed out a healthy stack of wrapped books ready to be delivered and a pile of new tags to be hung on the tree. Apparently the initiative has been so successful you can now order ‘Children’s Book Tree’ gifts on-line  so press here to find out more or call 0131 6228225alternatively if you’re local to Oxford pop in to make sure a child that would otherwise go without gets a gift this Christmas.


I also discovered another Christmas Goodwill book initiative at the end of my road, this is a Christmas Book Crossing tree. This tree periodically gets transformed into a book tree by one of our village residents, so that children can pick off a book, read it and pass it on.  

What a great idea, so maybe if your children have any books they no longer want you could wrap them up, and hang them on a tree for other children to take, you never know it may make a child’s Christmas!

So please help Santa and spread a bit of Christmas goodwill by making sure every child gets a book this Christmas



  1. Great ideas - I wonder if there is a way we can give our contractual copies away to disadvantaged kids? It might be even more special for a child to receive a book with a message from the author. Anyone know of such a scheme? My house groans under the piles of unbestowed contractual copies, and it would be good to put them to good use.

    Next Christmas's project!

  2. Hi there Stroppy Author!

    by the way I'm sure you're not Stroppy! I think that is a lovely idea, maybe we can have a think of how this could be achieved for 2013 Christmas!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks Sally, I didn't know about this. I will make sure I pop in there before I go home.

  4. Hi Nick,

    It's a great initiative isn't it! Glad to have shared it with you have fun choosing a book!

    Happy Christmas!

    1. I bought a Rescue Princesses book for one girl and a book called "Life-Size Baby Animals" (surely the Citizen Kane of baby animal books) for another. It was a lovely feeling, because so often I'm buying books for my girls and they have got rather a lot already. Mind you, I told them about the baby animals book and from the look on their faces it was clear they would have liked their own copy!

      I mentioned this blog post to the assistant and she asked me to thank you for publicising what they're doing. So thank you :-)

  5. Hi Sally,

    I loved the Blackwell's idea so much I followed the link but you had to buy the book by December 19th. Please can you remind us all again next year ;)

    Book_in_Every_Stocking was such a lovely idea and it was great to be a small part of it.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. HI Catherine,

      Thanks for supporting #Book_in_Every_Stocking! I'm hoping to run it again next year and grow it steadily, maybe one year it'll have a blog of its own.

      Yes the Blackwell's idea it lovely and really in the spirit of Christmas, next year I'll endeavour to get a post-up about it earlier giving folk more opportunity to buy a book.

      Have a fabulous Christmas, and thanks for stopping by.


  6. Hi, we just stumbled across this page by accident, and I'm SO chuffed you thought to donate Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head! It's one of the nicest endorsements of my books I've ever had.
    I'll have to look out for this Book Tree, what a superb idea.


    Kjartan Poskitt

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. HI Kjartan,

      Glad you stumbled! The Book Tree is a lovely idea and I really hope that Blackwells will repeat it again this year I'll certainly post any news of it as soon as I hear it. I chose to give Floating Head because my daughter loves all your Agatha Parrot books!