Are you a Bookaholic?
One can’t own enough books, right? At least I can’t and I know many other Bookaholics like me! Hard copies of our favorite books, as well as Kindle copies, we love to read and read and read. Books have always been my family’s favorite Christmas gift.
In Iceland too, the best gift to receive is a book —especially at Christmas time, and it has been that way since the end of WW II. This tradition dates back, according to The Reykjavik Grapevine‘s Hildur Knutsdottir, to World War II, when strict currency restrictions limited the amount of imported gift-ware in Iceland.
“The restrictions on imported paper were more lenient than on other products, so the book emerged as the Christmas present of choice. And Icelanders have honored the tradition ever since,” Knutsdottir writes. “The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday,” says Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association. “Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading. . .” So Icelanders love books! And that love involves most of the population, according to Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written on the Icelandic book industry.
How many of you can remember getting a special book for Christmas?
What joy to receive the gift of a new book, to crack it open for the first time, smell the print and paper, then dive into a wonderful adventure. In the United States, there are kids who are not as fortunate as the Icelanders, or more affluent kids right in our own neighborhoods. Libraries are often too far away to walk to, and school libraries can be lacking due to budget cuts and other issues.
Enter the Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) and the Zebulon Pike Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Since 2010, the annual Bucks for Books drive, sponsored by the Pikes Peak Branch of the NLAPW, and in partnership with the DAR have delivered yearly an average of 450 to 550 brand new books to 17 classrooms (K—5) at Will Rogers’s Elementary School in Colorado Springs. Each year, the children are overjoyed to receive their very own book to take home for the Christmas vacation, showering volunteers with hugs and smiles!
This will be the eighth year for this special outreach to Rogers Elementary School.
The idea first started back in 2010 by, then PPPW President, Virginia Campbell and DAR members Donna Maxwell (now deceased) and Cynthia McBride. Their humble vision of giving books to just one second grade classroom soon expanded to that of supplying seventeen classrooms—an exciting accomplishment through this unique partnership.
Present to help select these new books each year at the December Scholastic Book Sale in Denver, is our PPPW representatives, usually our President or Vice President; when possible, our former National President and local branch member, Virginia Campbell; Literacy Chairman and/or representatives with the DAR, and a retired elementary teacher.
A hearty THANKS to all the women, in both organizations, who take part in giving and serving the students at Roger’s Elementary in this way. A special thanks to Virginia Campbell and Leslie Brinkley, current DAR President and Librarian, whose vision it is we carry out once again. The combined donations collected last year comprised $1,409.