Thursday, 7 December 2017

How a little gift can mean so much more - by Dawn Finch

I love Christmas.
There - I said it. I really do love it and always have done. I have loved it ever since Father Christmas wrote "Father Christmas loves Dawn" on the wall in the hall in crayon when I was about five years old.*

I've been thinking recently about all of my favourite things about Christmas and it occurred to me that one of the most exciting things is getting a parcel in the post. My godmother Lynette (who I miss dreadfully) was a wonderful letter writer and used to send me letters and parcels like I was a grown-up. She wrote to me about all sorts of things, and sent me many gorgeous books. I remember seeing little packets arrive from her and recognising her handwriting instantly. I'd then tuck it aside and savour the delicious knowledge that I had a parcel waiting for me. We didn't have a lot of money when I was small, but we had fun and laughter and love and that kept us warm when the coins for the electricity meter ran out. We had stories to share by candlelight, and I deeply treasure those memories.

I was lucky, many children are not. Thousands of children will spend Christmas in care and, no matter how wonderful their foster families are, they may still feel as if they don't quite belong. I have worked with many children in care and even when they love their foster families they still feel as if they are in limbo, and as if they are slightly removed from the joy of Christmas. Many of the children I have worked with are in care because of an emergency situation and that means that they have had to leave behind their old life, and most of their possessions. When a child is packed up in a hurry, books are not the first thing on the packing list, and so just when they need a book to escape into, they are not able to do this.

BookTrust is doing something to tackle this. They have selected six beautiful hardback books of different types, including non-fiction and poetry, and are going to send one to a child in care. That's over 9,700 children who should get a parcel with their name on. A gift just for them. Something to keep with no strings.

"It may not seem much, but when you’ve not had much attention in life, it is"
Foster carer comment about the BookTrust Letterbox Club books

Of course this is a big task and so BookTrust need your help. Donate now and your money will be used to send a book to a child in care. It's not a lot. A tenner. That's less than three gingerbread lattes, and you'll be doing yourself a favour both in health and heart.

Here's the link - donate ten pounds and put a gift directly into the hands of a child in care. Make them feel important and special. Make a difference.

Click the logo to donate...

* it was definitely Father Christmas who wrote on the wall and not me. 

Dawn Finch is a children's author and librarian and Trustee of CILIP (the UK Library and Information Association) and a member of the Society of Authors' Childrens Writers and Illustrators Committee (CWIG)


Pippa Goodhart said...

This is such an important charity which, as you say, gets right the heart of the generosity and imagination and sharing which Christmas should be all about. I've given a book, and I expect/hope that they'll reach their ambitious target of reaching all those children. Thank you, Dawn.

Penny Dolan said...

Excellent post, just right for now. Thanks,Dawn.

Helen Larder said...

A wonderful post. Thanks, Dawn xxxx

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Dawn, will check it out.

Penny Dolan said...

On my list for todayou. Thanks.