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The Tidy Books UK Blog

  • Giving the gift of reading, from prison

    “Shows I need to sit down and read more to my kids. Good to give to the kids and they’ll enjoy it.”  Storybook Dad

    Our guest blogger, Olivia Loveridge of charity Give A Book talks about their work to give the gift of reading to disadvantaged families. 

    At Give a Book, our aim is to give books where they can really make a difference. We work mainly with schools & prisons and are working more than ever on family reading initiatives in prisons. The importance of family contact for both prisoners and their families is well-recognised and shared reading is a great way for families to stay connected.

    One of the projects we support is Storybook Dads, a charity which allows fathers in prison to record stories to send to their children.

    Give a Book now supply corresponding books to be sent with these story discs, so that children can not only watch and hear their parent read to them but can read along too.

    gift of reading, tidy books, charity, give a book Story Book Dads project connects dads in prison with their children through stories

    It makes life easier for the little one at bedtimes. It's as though they’re reading to him, he really loves his stories and it helped all of us. Thank you for this opportunity to bond with my family.”

    This year we also piloted a new Family reading initiative, Making It Up, at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. Leading up to a prison family visit day, fathers took part in workshops where they learnt about the importance of reading with their children, different types of stories, and created their own storybook for their children.

    On the day, families who came into the prison watched and listened to author and illustrator Chris Riddell as he sketched and read out loud from his new book. We plan to repeat the project in more prisons next year, following wonderful comments like these from the families who took part:

    “Could have written more…Something for [my child] to take back. Really good.”

    “Shows I need to sit down and read more to my kids. Good to give to the kids and they’ll enjoy it.”

    gift of reading Give a Book's family reading projects with dads in prisons

    If you'd like to give the gift of reading this year, find out more about more about Give a Book’s projects, please have a look at our website.  If you would like to make a donation to support our work, you can do so here.

    Thanks to Give a Book for their guest post, and thanks to everyone who's supported their work through the Tidy Books E17 Kid's Book Drops, which we host on a weekly basis in our East London office.   If you'd like to give the gift of reading to another family this year, donate quality children's books at our offices for Give a Book's collection, or make a donation to Give a Book

  • What does “giving the gift of reading” mean at Beanstalk?

    For us, giving the gift of reading goes beyond giving somebody a book for Christmas. Because what is the value of a book when you can’t read it? In England almost 25% of children leave primary school without being able to read at the expected level. This can often lead to a child falling behind at secondary school and entering adulthood without those vital skills. So for us, the gift of reading is rewriting that story for children at risk of falling behind due to poor literacy skills and encouraging them to discover the wonderful world of books.

    We recruit, train and place volunteers to support children aged 3-13 with their reading skills and to encourage them to become confident readers. As one child said “[Beanstalk] helped me find the fun in reading”.  Tidy Books is a long-term supporter of Beanstalk and donate regularly towards the work we do, helping us to create a new story for children at risk of falling behind.

    give the gift of reading, giving the gift of reading, tidy books, charity, kids literacy, beanstalk Beanstalk's work with children gives the gift of reading

    This Christmas we want to make it even easier for individuals to help Beanstalk give the gift of reading. We have beautiful Christmas cards, illustrated by Steve Anthony, author of ‘The Queen’s Hat’, for you to purchase and give to your loved ones. Each card comes with a choice of donation to help give the gift of reading to a child this Christmas: £30 will support a child for one month, £60 for one term and £189 for one academic year. To find out more about purchasing a Christmas card, take a look at our website.

    give the gift of reading, giving the gift of reading, beanstalk, charity, literacy Beanstalk's Christmas Card

    If you’re looking for more ways to give the gift of reading this Christmas, we’re also running a Secret Santa Book Swap. Instead of panic buying another mug(!) why not swap one of your favourite books from your collection and donate to Beanstalk? You’ll get a great book to read and in turn will be supporting a child in discovering the wonder of reading! £10 could buy John in HR a pair of socks – or it could support a child with 3 sessions of reading support. Sorry, John.

    We’re kicking off our Christmas campaigns on the 27th of November for #GivingTuesday with #BeanstalkBeanieDay. So pop on a beanie hat, tweet a photo and text “BEAN27 £2” to 70070 to show your support!

    For more information on how to give the gift of reading this Christmas, take a look at our website.

  • Giving the gift of reading. Why a book is extra special at Christmas

    I love getting books at Christmas. My husband, Matthew, and I always buy each other books so I purposely don’t buy any in the lead up to the festivities – then when I undo the wrapping paper I get really excited to see which one I’ve got. I feel like a big kid really.   I love giving the gift of reading, too – knowing the recipients are going to get so much pleasure from opening up their book and immersing themselves in the story inside.

    Giving the gift of reading is a great way to get children into books. It makes books feel extra-special when they’re wrapped up as a present and given with love. And the Christmas holidays are the perfect time for children to snuggle in and enjoy their new books. They can visit exotic countries, join in exciting adventures and discover new things to learn – all in one place.

    giving the gift of reading, kids books, gift of reading, tidy books, book box, book storage box Unwrapping books this Christmas. Photo credit @tthese-beautiful_thingss

    In Iceland, they’re as enthusiastic about reading at Christmas as I am. They have a tradition there called Jolabokaflod, or ‘The Christmas Book Flood’, where around November time every household is sent a book catalogue and people order books as gifts for family and friends. Then, on Christmas Eve, when it’s traditional to exchange presents, people stay in to read their new book, accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate or glass of jólabland, a mix of fizzy orange and ale. It’s brilliant that books are such a big part of their life, and that at Christmas time parents and children can spend time together reading.

    If you like the idea of having a book-filled Christmas, our Book Storage Box is a great way to keep all your kids’ books in one neat and tidy place. It’s portable so you can take it into the living room during the day then pop it upstairs ready for bedtime reading. It’s like a little moveable library so your children always have their books near them and they can dip in and out to read whenever they like. When my kids were younger, we used ours all the time.

    My two children may be in their teens now, but I still love sharing our reading. Later I’ll be popping into a book shop to buy my daughter a Christmas present. She’s into crime thrillers, which isn’t a genre I read, so I’ll have fun browsing the shelves, checking the reviews and finding out more. Who knows, I may discover a fascinating new world we can explore together this Christmas.  

    * Are you doing a Secret Santa at work this Christmas? A great idea from Beanstalk, the national literacy charity that we support, is to give one of your books as a gift and donate the money to them.  It's one more way to be giving the gift of reading!  Find out more  

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Give the gift of reading | Kid's book bundle and Tidy Books Box giveaway

    "A book is a gift you can open again and again" Garrison Keillor

    This Christmas and Holiday season we're talking about the how we can 'give the gift of reading'    We've teamed up with our friends, kid's book blogger Bookbairn and kid's bookshop Small Print Books  to bring you an awesome series of kid's book recommendations and reviews so you can give your children the gift of reading.  What's more there'll be a GIVEAWAY in early December!

    give the gift of reading, kids book reviews, prize, giveaway, kids books

    Every Thursday, Bookbairn - who's an oracle of the subject of kid's books  will post a review of the kid's book she's reading with her kids over 5 weeks.    At the end of 5 weeks, you'll have 5 great kid's book recommendations,  AND you'll have the chance to win all 5 PLUS a Tidy Books Box to store them in!   The prize books are supplied by cool kid's bookshop Small Print Books who has fabulous book gift packages to order,

    give the gift of reading, tidy books box, kids books, kiids book storage The Tidy Books Box

    So, keep watching for book reviews by Bookbairn and don't forget to enter our prize draw in early December to win a brilliant book bundle from Small Print Books, and a Tidy Books Box!

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