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Books and the World Now

Hi all, 

I used to blog, in fact on my previous site it all looked good and had photos and all... This new site is not quite as user friendly in how you just post and share out...

But- I thought I should try...

It has been a very tough 12 months, on March 12th last year I last 'worked for pay', then the #lockdown came and even though we have had periods of technically not being in #lockdown, effectively I haven't been able to go out and about doing my #work I have managed to renew my photography hobby though!

It has been quite torturous really as we also have hardly seen or spoken to anyone either, we have had a few messenger chats and for #work for sake of doing something (not paid- just doing) we have done some Zooms and FB lives- they are OK, they can even be fun, but they aren't the same as being with others in one place.

We have seen some things come to be that are potentially good, bookshop.org certainly could be a great thing, although they still aren't quite with it for those of us who are real booksellers, but don't have a shop as such, but in time I think it will become a real alternative to Amazon and we hope may even drive some to not use Amazon and use bookshop.org which does filter support to real bookshops.

Having not been paid, economics have been tough, I took a Bounce Back Loan
and worryingly it needs to be paid from May, although rumours are we may get a period of grace if things are still not as they should be.

I have been very upset by the lack of support for those of us #excluded when so many have had Grants, Furlough etc, there is a group of us who genuinely were not supported and we needed and still do,to have as many of our friends to raise their voices in support of us getting Parity from the Govt so we can come back and be as we were previously. It would be nice to see folks emailing their MPs asking them to lobby for a fair and equal level of backdated Grant support so we can clear our debts/loans and get back to #work

Recently the news that #schools are still likely to be unable to do events and World Book Day was announced, so we need to do things virtually for a while longer...

I have worked with some superb authors and illustrators and poets and many are able to do online events, in fact some are lined up for March which is WBD month and we are starting to get the WBD books delivered already.

I saw some news on twitter about trying to reach out and engage and support children/families at home with books, writing and other cultural and artistic stuff as we seem to be in Homeschooling land for quite some time still, in fact, this need was always there, Book Trust and others do their best and in real terms a lot. But there is an underlying issue of the needs of those with the least still don't get enough.

I think/hope there is a #rfpfam which should be 'reading for pleasure for families' so let's all try and use it when we air our news on books.

I personally feel there should be a way when any of us buys a book that some funding is accrued which is used to buy some truly superb books that are donated to libraries and schools for proper sharing, libraries are sadly under immense pressure to even exist, they need support and funding and now...

Every school especially primaries should have a library and a paid librarian and a budget for new books to keep the flow of wonders going for children to experience and learn from. Why is this not done?

If we all paid just £1 a week properly to a central fund it could raise £3 Billion pounds for books in a year... imagine that!

But I fear and feel that a lot of the support goes to too many places so instead of having a universal benefit and reach it is spread out and not enough reaches those most in need.

School should be able to tap into a book fund and chose books to give to children/families they totally know have no books or very few, WBD sort of does this but the voucher thing actually sort of stops it being seamlessly good, too many children are never taken to a library or real bookshop to get these books and although the quality is good, it is internally costs covered and not actually a proper giving of a book to those who really need one. There is always a lack of diversity because it's done by ages and not types...

So, my little idea is to reach out and find some funding, good funding and ongoing funding, to find and have a selection of books that really are the ones we should put into the hands of all children, universal words and pictures, with ethnicity, diversity, empathy and wonder in them... Then we need schools to know who needs them and libraries too... and then we need to get the books to the families, it can be done, it needs to be done and I hope somehow with everyone pulling in the same direction for once we can get everyone in #books to focus on one common goal, the need to read and grow better people.

I will start a 'collection' on my site, I see plenty of wonderful books recommended and ideally we should pool this resource so it is easily accessed for choice and buying/giving...

If you have access to reach out to any wealthy footballers or such please do, ask them to consider a trust fund that can be grown for this project, we need to get the Govt especially the Culture minister to engage and do something too, I had a few tweets to/from John Caudwell's team that started this idea off, we need billionaires like him to see that they can be the ones who become the providers of support for a project like this, imagine if we could buy 100,000 copies of Guess how much I love you? or Wonder or Kind or such...

Imagine giving those books to schools and libraries for actual children who have never read or experienced those stories or owned their own book, wouldn't that make a better future?