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10 Literary Charities for the Holidays

Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

Are you the type of person who likes to give to worthy causes over the holiday season? Or the type of gift-receiver who asks for donations made in your name to your favorite charity? Here’s a round-up of ten literary charities you can consider and add to your list:

1. Reach Out and Read. Reach out and Read is Book Riot’s charitable partner this year. They are “an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud…Children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their peers in language development assessments, subsequently, reducing the gap for low-income children at school entry.”

2. Girls Write Now. This organization pairs professional female writers with ” at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career and life choices”, giving young women a voice and opportunities for success.

3. First Book. First Book provides books to children in need, “addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 90 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities.” They’re also collecting donations to help bring books to children affected by Hurricane Sandy.

4. Book Aid International. Book Aid International “increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa [and Palestine]. We provided 516,138 new books to over 2,000 libraries last year alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954.”

5. ProLiteracy. This organization “champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies.”

6. Room to Read. An international organization that addresses illiteracy and gender inequality in education. They “work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.”

7. United Through Reading. This American charity “offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections and cultivates a love of reading. At nearly 200 recording locations worldwide, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors, National Guard, Reservists and Airmen, can read to their children from units on ships, in tents in Afghanistan, on bases and installations around the world and at 70 USO centers worldwide.”

8. Books for the Barrios focuses on reaching “needy schools by directly sending books to Mexico, Honduras, Philippines and Bhutan, as well as providing consulting services to other non-profit organizations who want to help over 140 book-deprived countries.” So far, they have distributed over 12 million volumes to needy schools.

9. Reading is Fundamental. Best explained through their commercial:


10. Worldreader, “a US and European non-profit whose mission is to make digital books available to children in the developing world, so millions of people can improve their lives. As of October 2012, we’ve put over 229, 000 e-books – and the life-changing, power-creating ideas contained within them – into the hands of 1,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa. Those children now read more, read better, and are improving their communities.”

Do you have a favorite bookish charity that we didn’t mention? Leave the info in the comments section!