A guest blog from Tidy Books

Why your books give the gift of reading

When you donate your children’s books to a charity shop or jumble sale, do you ever wonder about who will be reading them next?

Since 2016, Tidy Books has been working with Give A Book, organising regular collections of pre-loved children’s books in our offices in Walthamstow, East London.  Our local customers, who come to donate, are always delighted that the books will go to get other children reading.

The books are sent to Give A Book who distribute them to Breakfast Book clubs in schools, where children, often from deprived backgrounds are hungry for breakfast and books.   The children have been hugely positive about having the chance to read for pleasure in a little quiet time before the school day.

Children reading in school clubs

The first book that got Tidy Books’ founder and CEO Geraldine Grandidier hooked on reading was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl when the teacher read it aloud to the class.  And who knows?  A chance meeting with a book in a breakfast club, could inspire a child’s lifelong love of reading, just like it did with Geraldine.

Give a Book also used books from Tidy Books’ customers to give the gift of reading to children playing in London’s parks.   Give a Book and Doorstep Library hosted summer storytelling and play activities, and gave out books to children to take home.  Children were spotted after the event, sitting under the trees and enjoying their new books!

Geraldine’s love of books later inspired her to design and build the first Tidy Books bookcase for her daughter Adele.  Geraldine wanted a bookcase that Adele, then aged 4, could use independently, and get the book bug too!   Geraldine, who was a violin maker, started her business from her violin workshop back in 2004.

Adele with the very first Tidy Books bookcase

Even as a small business, we want to work ethically.  We use eco-friendly materials and safe water lacquer.  And we want to do our bit to give back.  In addition to collecting books for Give A Book, we’re in long term partnership with national literacy charity, Beanstalk.  We donate a percentage of every website sale to help Beanstalk get more kids reading.  On International Book Giving Day in February, we work with local Walthamstow businesses and publisher Child’s Play to give the gift of a book to unsuspecting children in waiting rooms, cafes and banks.

As this Christmas approaches, we are talking about giving the gift of reading, and if you’re clearing out books your children have grown out of, please donate them to our E17 Kids Book Drop at our East London offices. We host the Book Drop every Friday.   We’ll parcel them up for Give a Book so that they can give another child the gift of reading.

Give a Book is always on the lookout for volunteers to distribute books, so please get in touch with them if you can help in any way.

Follow our Facebook page for our E17 Kid’s Book Drop collection announcements.

Books collected for Give A Book in the Tidy Books office


Written by Ruth Duncan, marketer with Tidy Books


Published 2 November 2018

Sign up to the Give a Book mailing list