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The Weekly Challenge Blog – Free Books Campaign

This Thursday, 4th March, is World Book Day and we are celebrating with The Free Books Campaign!

Read the full challenge here: https://tinyurl.com/bum5a25r

Chrysti-Anne Wright, Campaign Support Coordinator tells us more about how the Free Books Campaign came to be and their incredible work! 


 

The Free Books Campaign was founded by Sofia Akel in the summer of 2020 and in October I was lucky enough to be the first person brought on to aid Sofia in the endeavour. 

In the UK almost 400,000 children don’t own their own book. Additionally, almost 800 public libraries have been permanently closed due to austerity, making this figure all the more heartbreaking. Not just for children, but adults alike, where many depend on libraries for accessing books that they might not otherwise get a chance to read.

From publishing, through to education, many fantastic books written by people of colour are not taught, shared or given the platform that they deserve. In our global, diverse world, it is so important for us to read widely and learn of each others experiences and lives.

Therefore, in the hopes of combating library closures and the lack of access to books by authors of colour, Sofia started a fundraising drive to get books into homes and hands for free by offering diverse literature to those who are unable to access books due to socio-economic barriers. 

So far the Free Books Campaign has delivered books to over 800 homes as well as community centres, schools, youth clubs and refuges. An impressive achievement for an initiative which is less than a year old. 

Our exciting new partnership with Penguin’s Vintage will ensure that in 2021 and beyond, many more books will be delivered. Vintage’s annual donation of 300 books will guarantee that each month the Free Books Campaign will have 25 copies of incredible books by authors of colour available to request on the Free Books Campaign’s website. The first book is Eddie S. Glaude Jr’s Begin Again and we can’t wait to reveal the 11 other titles over the coming months.

For both Sofia and me, reading has always been a treasured pastime. Books have proven to expand the mind in ways few other activities can, and I can say for certain that I wouldn’t consider myself a creative today if it wasn’t for my exposure to the creativity of authors from a young age.

Hearing other people’s imaginings influenced me to start creating my own version of theirs, then to start writing stories which belong solely to me. 

For me, everyday creativity is like meditation. Sitting and thinking up ideas then putting them to paper allows me to exercise my mind then clear it, letting me feel like I’ve accomplished something and freeing up space for more ideas. 

Therefore the decision for us, the Free Books Campaign to submit a reading challenge to 64 Million Artists was something that spoke to the core of what we do and love. As a non-profit dedicated to providing everyone the chance to escape into worlds built by magnificent writers of colour, supporting an organisation dedicated to encouraging people to explore their own worlds is a wonderful opportunity!

As a community-driven organisation  our challenge submission centres on books, diverse literature, and making a difference in your local communities. We wanted to create a challenge that embodied the values that both the Free Books Campaign and 64 Million Artists hold dear.

Our challenge encourages people to put positivity into the world and experience the rewarding benefits it can bring to their own day.

We wanted to show how small changes and actions can positively impact both the individual doing them and the world around them. After all, time and time again studies have proven that generosity and charitable giving has a positive impact on people’s self-esteem, self-worth and general mood! 

Without kindness and support the Free Books Campaign wouldn’t exist, so we are beyond proud to have created a challenge which aims to support your journey in diversifying your reading, supporting you to make a difference to those around you, whilst positively impacting and enriching your own lives! Did we mention it’s fun too? 

Everyone possesses creativity, for some it comes easy and for others it takes some time to master – but we all must go at our own pace, as we all learn differently! So The Weekly Challenge is a great way of challenging yourself to do that little bit extra every week which you can be proud of. 

It’s a great way to introduce everyday creativity into your life and experience the benefits that 10 minutes of joyful, nourishing work can bring. 


To support the work of the Free Books Campaign, you can donate here!