There Are Kids With No Books. You Can Fix That.

There are kids out there who have never owned a book. Or if they have one, it's just that -- one. Or maybe two.

But you know that books open up the mind -- and that one of the great gifts of childhood is getting to know the world beyond our own experience through words, pictures, and the quiet focus of reading or being read to. Kids need books.

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This is the belief that drives the Children's Literacy Foundation, which works to bring books, reading, and literacy programs to low-income and at-risk kids in Vermont and New Hampshire. They do great work, but they've got this challenge: They need books, too. Lots of them. They give away thousands of new books a year to children 12 and under.

So Kari Meutsch and Kristian Preylowski, who co-own and run The Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, got in touch with CLiF and asked if they could help. Which, it turns out, they can. Starting November 16 and running through December 24, they're holding a book drive, with the books they gather going straight to CLiF.

Here's how it works: You buy a children's or young-adult book (CLiF only takes new books) at a 20 percent discount, only instead of taking it home you leave it at the shop. Once the drive is done, they'll deliver the books to CLiF, which in turn will distribute them throughout the year. Easy, right?

"Books are vital to kids for so many reasons: empathy, imagination, stories," says Kristian. "It's awesome to see them get excited about a book." 

As for which books to buy? "I like the idea of people just picking their favorites," says Kari. "But if someone says, 'I want to donate for this or that age group,' we’re happy to help with that. Any excuse to talk kids' books!"

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