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

This International Literacy Day we are celebrating the power of small changes

By Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust

Today marks International Literacy Day, a UNESCO-designated awareness moment that champions the importance of literacy as a basic right. It also offers a great chance to take stock of the current state of literacy in the UK. 

This is the second International Literacy Day since COVID-19. This time last year we were seeing publication of the first worrying data describing the pandemic’s impact  on education. Unfortunately these early predictions of an increased attainment gap between children from low-income backgrounds and their high-income peers are now being realised. In the first lockdown alone, a decade’s work to narrow the attainment gap was undone. .  

To make sense of the scale of this challenge, The National Literacy Trust has now launched a research ‘observatory’ to bring together the emerging evidence of the pandemic’s impact on literacy.

Much of the research we are drawing together shows that children who had good access to digital devices, books and paper, and confident parents experienced less of a negative effect on their learning during school closures.  Lockdown disproportionately impacted on the literacy of children from low-income homes. Without immediate action this risks exacerbating societal inequality for generations.

One small change right now can lessen this impact and transform a disadvantaged child’s future. Simple access and ownership of books can transform a child’s enjoyment of reading, help them see themselves as a reader and supporting the development of vital literacy skills.  

Unfortunately, we know that 380,000 children and young people don’t own a single book. This is why our partnership with AwesomeBooks is so significant – every time someone buys a book on this website AwesomeBooks will gift us a book to be distributed to children and schools who need them the most.

The importance of owning a book can’t be overstated. It is a gateway to reading and for many children establishes their entitlement to literacy, giving them the skills to succeed at school, access that crucial first job and ultimately support their own child’s learning. 

What’s more, our research shows that reading doesn’t just support literacy and learning, it also boosts wellbeing and enables every child to dream about the future. Many of us needed that extra support and shot of optimism during the pandemic. 

We’d like to thank AwesomeBooks for their support and partnership with the National Literacy Trust. COVID-19 severely disrupted the literacy and learning of so many – but collaborations between the private, public and charity sectors have the power to really support the youngest generation as they try and recover from the shock waves of the pandemic. 

All AwesomeBooks customers can donate to us today and contribute to our ongoing work with schools, children, and families in the UK’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. 

So, thank you AwesomeBooks, and happy International Literacy Day!

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.

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