Best Books for Children

Kate L'argent, Independent Usborne Organiser

How I worked with local businesses to donate books

13th June 2014

Karen Simmonds

Karen Simmonds, from South Wales has been an Independent Usborne Organiser for over 15 years and juggles being a full-time working parent with running her Usborne business. Karen first started her Usborne business when she was on maternity leave and has since enjoyed the flexibility that earning money from her Usborne business allows.

Karen decided to do a Community Book Pledge when both her boys were in primary school. She tell us her story:

"My boys' school was the obvious choice as I knew the staff and they would also benefit along with all their classmates. I approached the Head Teacher with the template letter, added the school details onto it and the Head was pleased to sign the letter for me to start approaching local businesses. 

Next step was to identify what businesses were in the area (a small valleys community with only a couple of shops). I was surprised at how many businesses I found in our small community, some tucked away behind houses. My method was to approach them in person (I know others have done it by sending letters to businesses but as it was a small community I thought the personal touch might be better and walking round the area I discovered businesses I wasn’t aware of). 

I explained what I was doing and showed the letter signed by the Head.  It was a lot of leg work but worth it to see the children’s faces in the assembly when the books were presented to the school. Their faces lit up, and as each class left the hall they were allowed to come up for a closer look and touch the books. The English Coordinator couldn’t believe how many books she could order – best part, she said, was choosing what she wanted without worrying about the cost of each book - and how generous the local businesses were. 

Donations ranged from £10 to £70 with one £100 and one £200 donation!  Total donations were £700 plus Usborne giving 60% on top the school received £1120 worth of new books for their library including some to cover the topics set for the forthcoming year.  I then went on to do 2 other book pledges in 2 neighbouring schools that I covered.

I would encourage anyone to give it a go - you get to know who's in your community and bring a lot of joy to staff and pupils with all the new books they receive.  You will also be making a difference to the literacy levels of your chosen school as they will benefit from their new book resources."

Thanks for sharing your story Karen.

What's next?

Read more about the Usborne Community Book Pledge on the Usborne Books at Home company website.

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