Angry about book poverty? Do something about it with #justonebook

I am an author – and of course I want everyone in the entire world to buy my books. Over the past weeks and months, though, I have come to realise there is such a thing as book poverty.

I currently want people to buy children’s books instead of my own because I am angry that any child today should not have access to lovely new books in school for financial reasons.

Teachers are striking for better pay and conditions but also for more resources for the kids they teach. There just isn’t enough money for books in schools.

As an author I undertake many school visits. Recently I visited a Highland primary school (which will remain anonymous – no school deserves to be stigmatised for not having enough funds for new books) and was shown around by a delightful but exhausted teacher who took me into the school library.

The content wasn’t great. Very few new titles. Some books were old school prizes from the 1950s. Some were passed-on school stock from elsewhere. Several had teachers’ names in them: teachers buying new books for their school libraries out of their meagre wages because it’s the only way they can replenish the library! One was the same ‘My Learn to Cookbook’ recipe book I was given myself aged about nine. It’s a fun cookbook, if a bit sugar and fat heavy, but I am now 61!

The amazing school staff doggedly wipe and sanitise and stick back together these poor old books as much as they can but some will vanish home, never to be seen again and there’s little to no budget to replace them. Books which have been in a library for years get to look like they have, too – slightly dingy, slightly battered, slightly forlorn. Let’s be frank: old and shabby books are boring.

As the teacher said to me, the kids deserve better.

If you don’t hook a child on books early in life they will never catch up educationally or emotionally. Fact.

I cannot be the only person to lie awake and worry that society is destabilising to such a degree that some schools will soon close entirely through staff sickness and shortages, just as it is becoming nigh-on impossible to find a medical practice in certain areas. If we dare envision a future where children no longer attend a school at all but roam the streets, and where those of us who are sick may not be able to rely on medical care, we are looking into the abyss next door.

I am not a celebrity, nor am I a super wealthy person and I certainly have no political influence, but I thought: there has to be something I can do that is positive in this hideous mess that we are in. And I racked my brains for a small thing I could try, and I thought of the school library and its old, battered, uninspiring books.

If you see a poster soon in a bookshop which says #justonebook it means you can buy a child a primary school level book there – anything from early years to P7, fiction or non-fiction – and leave it at the bookshop. It will soon be collected, giftwrapped and delivered to a Highland primary school in desperate need of books. All the school will know is that it comes from ‘the magic book fairy’.

A very simple transaction in which you get to feel virtuous, a child gets to feel excited as they undo the parcel, a teacher gets a sense that other people care as much as they do – and I get to sleep just a wee bit better at night.

If you would like to know more about giving #justonebook to a Highland primary school then please get in touch by commenting below. Thanks for reading this 🙏🌹😊

Author: veewalkerwrites

Hello new readers. If you enjoy my blog why not try my prizewinning novel of WWI, Major Tom's War? It's available as a revised and expanded second edition in paperback and on Kindle. You can order it via my lovely publisher Kashi House at or from any good bookseller. Ask me nicely and I can send you a signed/dedicated copy for just £12 including UK postage and packing 🙏🌹

6 thoughts on “Angry about book poverty? Do something about it with #justonebook”

  1. Oh this is distressing to hear this. I remember reading new books at school in the 60s, and the thrill of opening a book for the very first time. Today’s children deserve better than old motheaten books. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s absolutely appalling that we have to do this in this day and age but I am very willing to participate. I have a lot of beautiful art and craft books, belonging to Claire if you can suggest somewhere they might be appreciated I would love them to go there. I’m afraid I am very precious about my children’s books, although I have given some to my local library and I am prepared to give some away to a Primary school if you would let me know where you think they should go. Thanks, Verity for bringing this to our notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really sad to hear this. I don’t think we live in the same country, but I’ve donated books to one of my local schools that set up an online wish list. All I had to do was pick out the ones from the list that I was willing to buy, and the site shipped the books directly to the school. If you set up something like that, I’d be happy to buy a book for the kids at the school you mentioned in this post!


    1. That’s a great idea too, Shannon and under normal circumstances might work well. In this particular case it might be difficult for staff even to find time to identify which new book titles they should choose. Book tokens, same issue. I would not wish the school to feel singled out for its need of fresh library stock either.

      So many schools are under pressures we cannot even imagine at present. As donations of books come in and the library begins to replace its stock, I plan to keep track of titles, liaise closely with their library elves to see what they feel is needed next, then nudge folk into buying that range/topic/genre.

      I think if my post motivates others to make a spontaneous gift of a book to their local school, that’s a good result too. Thanks so much for reading the post.

      Liked by 1 person

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