3 Testimonies about the impact of books to celebrate this World Book Day

Every time you buy a book from us we donate a book to someone who doesn’t have one, so every time you choose to buy from AwesomeBooks, you are making an impact in someone else’s life.

Almost 400,000 children in the UK do not own a book, and the proportion of children without books is increasing. It now sits at one in three, when in 2005 the number was closer to 1 in 10.

Studies show that children with their own books are more likely to be above-average readers and do better at school. Meanwhile children without books are more likely to live in poverty.

At Awesomebooks we are committed to working with schools, communities and partners around the world to give people access to the resources they need to develop the literacy skills that will enable them to write a brighter new chapter in their lives.

Here are just a few of those stories:

ABC To Read:

“Thank you to Awesome Books for the wonderful donation of books that we will be able to use with struggling readers in schools this year. The additional books means that our volunteers will be able to mentor children at a safe distance by having a book each. Children’s reading will have fallen further behind during the pandemic and so it is vital that our services are able to continue. Donations such as these are so important for charities to be able to continue.”

Marcia Rowlinson
ABC To Read CEO

Coulsdon Oasis Academy

Every time we ask a student to read, write or speak we are modelling the very highest standards in literacy in the classroom.

Encouraging a love for engagement with texts and a reading culture at home may be one of the best gifts that can ever be bestowed on the next generation.

THANK YOU Awesome Books for your amazing contribution to our resources and the development of literacy and the love of reading at Oasis Coulsdon! ☺

Director of English Department Mr J O’Shea

Books for Africa — Kenya:

“The collection from London offered us a great deal of different books, not to mention the huge number of books per container. We created about 400 libraries from it!”

Wanjiku Francis

UK Reads & AwesomeBooks join forces to tackle the literacy gap with more than 30,000 free books sent to children in disadvantaged communities

*** Schools & youth organisations can apply for free books at http://www.ukreads.org/book-drop ***

Leading children’s literacy charity, UK Reads, has partnered with circular economy bookseller AwesomeBooks to tackle the literacy gap by providing more than 30,000 free books to schools in disadvantaged communities.

Reading for pleasure is the single biggest factor in determining a child’s future success, but there are currently more than 413,000 children in the UK who do not own a single book of their own.[1] UK Reads are on a mission to ensure every child in the UK has access to free books and literacy support, and today they are calling for teachers and youth organisations to request free books for children living in poverty in their communities.

All UK schools can request free books from UK Reads for children without access to their own books, which will be supplied by Awesome Books. Over the past year Awesome Books has been working with UK Reads to donate more than 14,000 books for disadvantaged communities, and have now extended this partnership to pledge 30,000 high quality, pre-loved books to be distributed amongst disadvantaged pupils in 2022.

AwesomeBooks, one of the UK’s biggest online new and used book retailers, has a unique circular business model of sustainable bookselling centred around reuse, which means that no book is ever thrown away. Driven by a commitment to sustainability and literacy, the company collects books destined for landfill and repurposes high quality copies by reselling them or donating them to improve access to books and promote literacy.

Annie Ashford-Barnden, Program Director for UK Reads said: “Since UK Reads launched in November 2020, we have given over 13,000 books to children across the UK. This year, we want to distribute 30,000 books to help bridge the widening literacy gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, which has been exacerbated by the Covid 19.”

Simon Mackay, Head of Books at AwesomeBooks, said: “Our team at AwesomeBooks is committed to collaboratingwith schools, communities and partners around the world to improve access to books, and to give people the literacy skills they need to succeed in life. Ensuring that no book ever goes to waste and every single book makes an impact, we are thrilled to be working with UK Reads, delivering pre-loved books into the hands of children and communities most impacted by the pandemic.”

Sarah Turner, aka The Unmumsy Mum, and UK Reads Ambassador, said: “As a mum to three boys who love stories, I find it hard to imagine a home without books yet sadly that is the reality for many children in the UK. I am proud to be involved with this wonderful campaign to get free books to children who need them most.”

Jon James, Assistant Headteacher at a London school, said: “The books from UK Reads have helped significantly with providing our most vulnerable pupils with additional reading materials to support their learning and foster love for reading. Many of our pupils have struggled to access online books or, due to self-isolating, have not been able to access libraries. Therefore, being able to provide them with additional books has helped immeasurably.”

Jo Stroud, Head Teacher at a Peterborough school, said: “For a child to be given a book that belongs to them will impact on their self esteem and self worth. It will also encourage children to read within the home, helping bring families together to have a story time, and allow children to practice their own reading skills.”

Hannah Wooldridge, Librarian at Cranbrook Campus, says: “By UK Reads providing books that pupils can take home as their own, it will hopefully give them an experience of ownership, not just of books themselves but of the whole reading process. Together we are sending the message that books and reading are for everyone and that nobody should be without them.”

To request books for your pupils, visit www.ukreads.org/book-drop

For more information about UK Reads and the work they are doing to end illiteracy in the UK, please visit www.ukreads.org.


[1] National Literacy Trust, Book Ownership in 2021 (November 2021)

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.

Awesome Books for Africa

Every time you buy a book, you make an impact. This time, it was all the way in Ghana!

We were approached by BooksForAfrica who were working with schools in Ghana to help them get the books they need to support their students.

Currently over 20% of the Ghanian population struggles to read or write, and even though literacy rates across the country have improved significantly in recent years, there is more that can be done. We hope this donation will contribute towards shrinking the gap even further, because we believe literacy is the key to empowerment, and having access to a well-stocked library is the first step towards experiencing the life-changing power of books.

Unfortunately, many schools don’t count with the resources necessary to meet their students’ needs. In the Ashanti region, almost 30% of children in school age have no books at home, and have never taken a book home from school. What’s more, overall, just over 20% of children are read books on a regular basis. We think children having access to books shouldn’t be a privilege but a right, so we prepared a container of 50,000 books to cover the school’s requirements.

This included some of the following categories:

  • 0-5 year children books to encourage early reading habits. Sensory simulating books are especially sought after as texture and touch are universal languages.
  • Teen fiction titles for older children (secondary school)
  • Encyclopedias to provide reference material to help with studies and general learning.
  • Secondary school textbooks/exam guides to help school specific topics.
  • Popular Fiction for older students and adults who access school or community libraries.

The project took several weeks of careful planning to coordinate the operation on both ends, not to mention the manpower needed to select and carefully pack the books so they arrived in top condition to their destination. The shipment had to travel by sea, so a container was loaded into a cargo vessel that set sail from the South East coast of the UK.

It’s hearing that our books have found a home where they can make an impact which energises us, as literacy is at the core of everything we do.

Thanks to our wonderful customers for making this possible, when you choose AwesomeBooks, you make an impact with every book you buy!

YOU ARE AWESOME: Syrian Relief

Your purchases make an impact: this time it was all the way in Syria. Over the last year we were able to sponsor 7 children and a family that, like thousands, have been displaced due to the ongoing crisis.

Thanks to your support, we partnered with UK-Based Syrian Relief to provide them with food, shelter and education aids. We believe literacy is the stepping stone upon which a successful and fulfilling life is built, but we understand that in some cases, facilitating it encompasses more than just giving books to those who need them: sometimes other needs have to be addressed first, which is why we thought this was an awesome project to support.

Meet some of the kids that, thanks to you, received the help they needed to write the first chapter of what will be an awesome future.

Meet Saleh

Saleh is 11 years old, is in fifth grade, and wants to become a football player.

Meet Zarhaa

Zahraa is 11 years old and she dreams of becoming an interior designer.

Stay tuned to get to know more of how you make an impact with every book

AwesomeBooks + Rackets Cubed

Over 2500 books donated

The last year has changed a lot of things. We may not be able to be together and to support each other the way we were used to, but more and more we’ve seen how creative and innovative people can be to continue to help and work for their communities.


This is the case of Rackets Cubed, a program started in 2016 support local inner-city children from schools with a high IDACI rating (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index). Before the pandemic, they hosted multiple sporting and educational activities, and provided nutritious meals for the attendees every week.
When the pandemic hit, they were quick to start a Community Box which seeks to continue with their Awesome mission to encourage children to lead a healthy lifestyle and achieve academic success by providing food, books and games to over 900 families per week.

“We realise there is a massive education gap to fill as the children have now had nearly a year of hit and miss schooling,” a representative of Rackets Cubed told us, and so we decided to step in. We believe that there’s nothing quite as powerful as reading to unite us, nothing quite as empowering either. Books are not only a window into another reality but also a stepping stone to guarantee a brighter future that, in the current circumstances, started to dull for many children due to the lack of resources at their disposal.

Thanks to the support of the Awesome customers that chose to make an impact with their transactions, we’ve been able to donate over 2,500 books to Rackets Cubed through WLF, benefitting hundreds of families across the UK.

Inspire a love of reading at home this International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day is a significant day in the literacy calendar, and now more than ever, an important moment to highlight the significance of developing a love of reading from an early age. With 200,000 primary school children now leaving primary school without the recommended literacy levels for their age after missing out on classroom learning the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that families can make up for lost time from the comfort of their own homes.

Being able to read well isn’t just important for academic achievement. It will also help a child to make sense of the world, boost wellbeing and enable children to dream about their future. By reading together families will be boosting children’s imaginations and expanding their knowledge of the world.

The National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life site is filled with lots of book-inspired activities for families with children of all ages. At the peak of lockdown and while school were closed in January 2021, as many 112,000 unique users visited the site to discover storytelling videos, exclusive ebooks and tips to create the ideal reading space. The charity’s research found that as many as 1 in 3 children were reading more during lockdown and 59% of children said that it made them feel happier too.

The National Literacy Trust recommends the following Words for Life reading activities to help your child discover the joy of reading and improve their learning:

Cosy book time

It’s never too early to introduce babies to books. This activity suggests sharing picture books with the very youngest children and creating a comfortable space for them to listen to stories. There’s also a handy video which shows real-life families demonstrating the activity themselves.

Read and explore I Am Perfectly Designed

I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown is a book about the celebration of the love between parent and child. On this page, children are introduced to the book with a special storytelling video and once they’re hooked, there are additional activities to try that will help parents and little ones to bond and appreciate the book even more.

What should I read next? book list

For children who have already shown an interest in reading but stuck for what to try next, this book list suggest titles suitable for children aged 3 to 12 based on their existing reading habits.

Books to wind down

This activity encourages families to build reading into a daily bedtime routine. Not only will it allow children to look forward to hearing a story every night, they’ll also be getting used to a sense of order that will help with going to school. This page also includes a video with a real-life families having a go at the activity.

To discover more tips and activities to help children learn, please visit Words for Life.

To browse millions of new and used books visit www.awesomebooks.com. For every book you buy AwesomeBooks will donate a book to a child in need. Make an impact with every book and find out more about the Awesome Book for Book here.