Gaza bookshop destroyed in 2021 finally re-opens!

Your support enabled us to donate 25K books and support the global efforts to see Samir Mansour’s bookshop doors open once again.

Samir Mansour’s Bookshop re-opening ceremony

Samir Mansour’s bookshop used to be a cultural hub in Gaza city, which is why when it was destroyed due to the ongoing conflict, the loss for the community was incalculable. It once housed over 90K books, and on May 2021, it ceased to exist.

In the middle of the tragedy, a spark of hope was ignited when the news started to spread and soon after hundreds if not thousands of people around the world had come together to offer help.

In the UK, the efforts to support Samir garnered an awesome 150,000+ books, (your purchases contributed 25,000+ of those!), but the challenge then was how to make sure they reached their destination safely. This is where we knew we could make the biggest impact. “With a dedicated warehouse and book collection capabilities already in place, AwesomeBooks was perfectly positioned to manage the thousands of book donations from people and businesses from all over the UK”, CEO and AwesomeBooks co-founder Taskeen Ahmed said. Your support allowed us to put our resources and experience in handling large scale donations at the service of this cause.

Our head of impact Sannah Maan worked closely with activists across the country to coordinate the collection, storage and organisation of the donations, so what started with an appeal for help in May 2021, materialised as shelves full of books the people of Gaza now have access to.

Mahvish Rukshana, organiser of the book appeal in the UK said “the success of this project is a testament to the good in humanity”, a sentiment echoed by all of us in AwesomeBooks, and booklovers everywhere, no doubt.

Watch a clip of the reopening of Samir’s bookshop below or visit their official Facebook page to watch the full ceremony and tour.

Meet an Awesome Author: Christiane Bellstedt Myers

Christiane Bellstedt Myers, author of Scandi Christmas: Over 45 projects and quick ideas for beautiful decorations & gifts brings us her favourite quick ideas for awesome decorations you can make to impress your guests this holiday season.

Don’t forget to check out her book and the awesome guide she shared with us to make a glitter paper tree.

Will you be trying any of her awesome ideas? If you do, don’t forget to tag us on social media!

Awesome Author: Scandi decorations to make your Christmas AWESOME

Today we have an awesome guest takeover of our blog —Christiane Bellstedt Myers, author of Scandi Christmas brings us one of her amazing Christmas projects to make your decorations even more special.

Don’t forget to share your creations with us through social media!

Without further ado, let’s get to crafting!

Glitter Paper Trees by Christiane Bellstedt Myers

Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books

There is something special about being able to create a stunning centerpiece for your Christmas table without spending a lot of money. Adding a pinch of glitter reflects the light, making your table shimmer and feel magical and festive. Make a large tree or several smaller ones—or whatever combination works best for you!

MATERIALS

  • Oasis block
  • Terra cotta plant pot (I used an antique terra cotta pot but any = would work)
  • Wooden skewers
  • Paper (preferably old newspaper with a Christmas story or old sheet music)
  • Silver glitter

TOOLS

  • Craft knife
  • Small paintbrush
  • White craft (PVA) glue
  • Star cookie cutter
  • Pencil
  • Clothespin

How to make your Glitter Paper Tree

Step 1 Picture, oasis foam cube, skewers, plant pot and knife.
Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books

Step 1

Use a craft knife to cut a piece of oasis from the block. Make sure that the oasis fits into the plant pot snugly. Push a wooden skewer vertically into the center of the oasis, with the pointed end at the top. You may want to trim the wooden skewer, depending on the size of your pot.

Step 2 Picture, old and yellowed music sheets and some torn up pieces of paper next to them
Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books

Step 2

Take your paper in bunches of three or four pages and rip them into squares of varying sizes. There is no need to be precise; it is actually much cuter when the edges of the paper are not straight.

Step 3

Start pushing your bundles of paper onto the skewer. Turn the pot slightly as you add more paper bundles so that the edges of the paper are not all lined up evenly. You want to gradually decrease the size of the torn squares to resemble the shape of a tree.

Step 3 Picture, plant pot with some paper through the skewer and other pieces next to it.
Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books
Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books

Step 4

Take a small paintbrush and use it to spread glue on the edges of the paper. Sprinkle with as much silver glitter as you want! (Do this over a piece of old newspaper so you can catch and reuse the excess glitter.)

Step 5

Use a cookie cutter or draw and cut out two star shapes.

Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books
Photography by Caroline Arber © CICO Books

Step 6

Apply some glue on one star and press the other star onto it with the tip of the skewer sandwiched in the middle. Use the clothespin to hold the star in place while the glue dries; remove when the glue is dry. Paint the star with a little more glue and sprinkle with glitter to finish.

If you want to see more of Christine’s wonderful ideas, don’t hesitate to check out Scandi Christmas!

We hope you have fun making some awesome paper trees to decorate this festive season!

Books for the future🌱: Children’s Environment Books 🌳

COP26, the UN Climate Conference, is now in full swing, starting its second week in Glasgow. Leaders from all over the world have gathered in what is called the “last, best hope” to tackle global warming —a problem that affects us all, but how can we talk about it with the youngest ones?

Take a look at a selection of our favourite books to share with younger readers as they learn about what is happening at COP26

For Young Readers (4-7 Years)

The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown

This is the story of how a young boy can transforms a gray city into a lush, green world —a beautiful reminder of the power that one small person can have to transform the world.


The Lorax

by Dr Seuss

The Lorax is a timeless classic that has been using humour and rhyme to raise awareness of the destruction of the environment for more than fifty years. This ode to conservation is the perfect book to inspire a deep love for the planet in young readers. 


For Older Children (8-12 Years)

The Last Bear

by Hannah Gold

The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.


Earth Heroes

by Lily Dyu

It’s easy to feel as if nothing you do can really make a difference when it comes to climate change, but in Earth Heroes each tale is a beacon of hope in the fight for the future of our planet, proving that one person, no matter how small, can make a difference.


How You Can Save The Planet

by Hendrikus van Hensbergen

If you’re worried about climate change, this book is an essential and reassuring read. Packed with reassuring step by step actions and easy to follow DIY activities, How You Can Save The Planet is the perfect gift for young activists who want to make a difference. 

Check the full list here

Awesome Eco-Fiction: When the environment takes centre stage

We kick off this week with a list of recommended eco-fiction books inspired by COP26, the UN Climate Conference being held in Glasgow. Leaders from all over the world have gathered in what is called the “last, best hope” to tackle global warming —a problem that affects us all.

Here are some of our favourite books that bring the environment into the foreground, some of them inspiring hope, and others bringing attention to how, if we don’t act now, it could turn it into the villain of the story. 

Dune

by Frank Herbert

Widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, Dune follows Paul Atreides on a quest to avange his father’s death — and change the universe forever.

Now a motion picture!


Cloud Cuckoo Land

by Anthony Doerr

When everything is lost, it’s our stories that survive
How do we weather the end of things?

Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds.


Bewilderment

by Richard Powers

What can a father say when his boy demands an explanation for a world that is clearly in love with its own destruction?

At the heart of Bewilderment lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet?


Leave the World Behind

by Rumaan Alam

A family goes away to a rented cabin for a relaxing holiday, but when the alleged owners of the home show up in a panic seeking refuge, many questions arise.

What happened in New York? Is the holiday home, away from civilisation, a truly safe place for them? And are they safe from one another?


Where The Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand.

When two young men become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.