Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

150+ Literacy / Book Charities

charitybuttonThis list (last updated February 2014) contains 150+ charities, voluntary organizations and not-for-profits working all over the world.

Some need funding, others are looking for used and/or new books, whilst others would just love it if you could donate some of your time. Not all organisations listed here are technically charities – some are simply voluntary schemes run by individuals, or even businesses run on a not-for-profit basis, but I’ve included them here as they too are doing great work. If you’re looking for somewhere to start I’ve highlighted my favourite organizations in blue.

If you do not wish to browse the entire list please click immediately below for charities operating in a given region:
International | UK | Australia | US | Canada | Africa | India | Other

Boring but sensible comment
Please note that whilst it would be great if one of these charities benefited from inclusion in this list, the charity’s presence here should not be taken to imply any particular recommendation by me. As with any charitable giving it’s a good idea to check the charity out for yourself.

The Charity Commission Register holds comprehensive information about every registered charity in England and Wales. The Office of the Scottish Charities Register includes a comprehensive range of information about the activities and charitable purposes of Scotland’s charities. This part of the IRS site does something similar for US charities and non profit organizations. You may also wish to check out GuideStar.

International book charities (ie those working in multiple countries)

  • IBBY – The International Board on Books for Young People
    The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. As well as supporting the general organization you can also donate to specific projects around the world through their Children in Crisis Fund.

  • LitWorld
    LitWorld works to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. LitWorld joins together with teachers, parents, community members, and children to support the development of sustainable literacy practices across the world. One of their main activities is World Read Aloud Day.

  • World Reader
    Worldreader is the non-profit that eradicates illiteracy by delivering the largest culturally relevant library to the world’s poorest people—digitally and inexpensively.

  • The Book Bus
    The Book Bus believes that every child should have the opportunity to discover the hidden treasures that books contain. Our aim is to reveal the value of literacy by instilling a lifelong love of reading in young children. Using the spoken word, artwork, puppet-making and a host of other media, our volunteers bring to life the worlds within storybooks. The Book Bus provides a mobile service and actively promotes literacy to underprivileged communities in Zambia and Ecuador. The legacy of each Book Bus visit is a reading corner and bookshelves stocked with children’s books.
  • Book Aid International
    Book Aid International increases access to books to support literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa, Palestine and Sri Lanka.
  • ProLiteracy
    ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies.
  • Tracy McGrady Foundation
    The Tracy McGrady Foundation has supported various programs over the years that enhance the lives of children and enrich their learning process, particularly by renovating libraries and media centre.

  • GBA Ships
    The ships visit each port for several weeks each and open the gangways to hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors each day. On average, over one million visitors have been welcomed on board every year! The floating book fairs offer over 7,000 titles, providing many visitors their first-ever opportunity to purchase a wide range of quality literature.
  • Imagination Library
    Donations to The Dollywood Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Dolly Parton, help fund Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides participating families with a new book each month. The Imagination Library runs in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

  • Bookshare
    Bookshare’s goal is to make the world of print accessible to people in the UK and US with disabilities. You can find out more from the Bookshare blog.
  • Little Free Library
    Little Free Library’s missions are: To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide, to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations, and to build more than 2,510 libraries around the world–more than Andrew Carnegie!

  • Books Abroad
    Books Abroad believes that, in the long term, education is what is required to help solve the worlds problems. With the power to read and write, the children of today will have a better understanding of the issues surrounding them.
  • WaterBridge Outreach
    WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water seeks to foster empathy, understanding, and peace. It focuses on donating books in English and local languages and funding clean water and sanitation projects in communities and villages in the developing world.
  • Set of school textbooks from Save the Children
    Schools all over the world are often poorly equipped so parents are expected to provide their children with text books. If they can’t afford to buy them then their children can’t go to school. It doesn’t have to be like that. By buying this gift for a friend, you’ll be giving a child a set of textbooks for the year. A good education is the key to a brighter future.
  • A book and reading lessons from Musthave Gifts
    Pakistan: After a hard day working, children often visit the drop-in centre. Books may be the only escape they have. Giving the gift of a book and reading lessons will open a whole new world and a window to a better life.
  • Room to Read
    Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
  • Borderline Books
    Borderline Books collects books that would otherwise be destroyed, and redistributes them to organizations working with the homeless, asylum applicants and refugees, survivors of trafficking or domestic violence. We have projects in the Netherlands and the UK.
  • Read to Grow
    Read to Grow donates books to projects in every place where books are scarce. Read to Grow also finds it important that the given books are of good quality and usable for the communities where they arrive. Read to Grow chooses quality over quantity.
  • Book charities in the UK

  • Give a Book
    Give a Book sources new books at cost price through our partner, Daunt Books; we put a personalised bookplate into each book, then package and post the books to our selected charities. Every donation you make buys and distributes a book to someone who – for differing reasons – might need one.

  • Quaker Mobile Libraries, in London, Dorset and Hampshire
    The Quaker Mobile Library is an innovative library service in London that provides books to borrow for people who would otherwise be unable to take books out of the library, due to having ‘no fixed abode’. The Quaker Mobile Library is always looking for more volunteers, especially drivers. A similar project now runs in Dorset and Hampshire.
  • The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
    The CLPE is an independent UK charity with a global reputation for the quality of our research into literacy and teaching. Our work promotes high standards in the teaching of literacy. We particularly emphasise the importance of books and literature in enabling children to become confident, happy and enthusiastic readers and writers, with all the benefits this brings.

  • The Reader Organisation
    We bring people and great literature together. Our primary way of doing this is through our innovative shared reading model, bringing people together in weekly groups to listen to poems and stories read aloud. Thoughts and experiences are shared; personal and social connections are made.

  • Got To Read
    Based in Suffolk, we provide training and support to volunteers who have a love of reading and want to share that with others. Got to Read volunteers give one-to-one support to help someone with their own personal reading goals, whether that is building on what they can do already, or starting right from the beginning.

  • ABC To Read
    ABC to read trains and supports community and parent volunteers to help Berkshire primary school children who would benefit from 1:1 tutoring in reading.

  • Discover Children’s Story Centre
    Discover Children’s Story Centre is the UK’s first hands-on creative literacy centre for children aged 0-11 years and their families, carers and teachers.

  • The Library Campaign
    An independent national charity set up in 1984 to support Friends of Library groups and to campaign for improved services in publicly funded libraries

  • Books for Free
    The “Books for Free” initiative rescues unwanted books otherwise destined for landfill or pulping. Healthy Planet redistributes these books – for free – throughout communities via our stores nationwide. By visiting the stores and taking a book, you are reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill each year and helping to recycle valuable resources. Find your nearest Books For Free centre using this map.

  • Adopt a Word
    Adopt a word and the money raised goes to helping children with communication difficulties.

  • Welsh Books Council
    The Books Council actively promotes reading and literacy in Wales (in both English and Welsh

  • From Little Acorns
    All about literature & children reading more in Scotland!

  • World Book Day
    World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

  • Adopt a book at the British Library
    Adopt a Book supports the British Library’s conservation team, helping them preserve the world’s knowledge for future generations.
  • Great Little Libraries
    Great Little Libraries is a Scottish charity which raises money to put books in primary schools in disadvantaged parts of Scotland.

  • Federation of Children’s Book Groups
    The Federation is an umbrella organisation for local Children’s Book Groups around the U.K. Local groups organise book-related activities for children in their localities, whilst nationally the organisation produces regular Newsletters and specialist booklists and organises National Share-a-Story Month, an Annual Conference, as well as owning and coordinating the Red House Children’s Book Award.

  • The Beatrix Potter Society
    The Beatrix Potter Society is registered as a charity in the United Kingdom and exists to promote the study and appreciation of the life and works of Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943) who was not only the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other classics of children’s literature, but also a landscape and natural history artist, diarist, farmer and conservationist.

  • The Reading Agency
    The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to inspire more people to read more. It is the UK’s leading development agency specialising in spreading reading through libraries. It also reaches readers through broadcasters, publishers, workplaces, schools, prisons and youth services.

  • Living Paintings
    Living Paintings is a charity that provides a free postal library service of specially adapted tactile books for blind and partially sighted children and adults.
  • The Children’s Book Tree
    The Children’s Book Tree works to give Edinburgh children (children in care and residential homes, children living in refuges or otherwise affected by domestic violence and young carers) the gift of books for Christmas. Customers in Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh bought new books as gifts based on the children’s own wishes and preferences. Although the website doesn’t look active, Blackwells have confirmed that they are still running their Children’s Book Tree in Edinburgh, and also in Oxford. Heffers in Cambridge run a similar scheme.
  • Storybook Dads
    To help imprisoned parents throughout the UK to maintain meaningful contact with their children, by recording them reading stories for their children, thereby reducing re-offending and improving outcomes for parent and child. They also run a similar scheme in women’s prisons, Storybook Mums.

  • Craigmillar Books for Babies
    Craigmillar Books for Babies is a multi-agency Edinburgh based project which aims to encourage and support parents and carers to share books, stories and rhymes with their babies and to promote reading as a relevant and worthwhile source of pleasure which enhances children’s early development.
  • Scottish Book Trust
    Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. Amongst other activities, every year Scottish Book Trust invests £3 million per year to inspire and encourage readers and writers in Scotland, funds over 1,200 literature events connecting 50,000 readers with writers through Live Literature funding and reaches every baby in Scotland through its Bookbug book gifting programme.
  • Booktrust
    Booktrust is an independent UK-wide charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to enjoy books. Booktrust runs bookgifting schemes including Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up, as well as other projects and programmes such as Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Laureate, book awards and many more.
  • The Book Trade Charity
    The book trade charity, is the trade’s own welfare charity. It is often the most appropriate channel through which assistance and support can be given to those members of the trade who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
  • Listening Books
    We are a UK charity providing a fantastic selection of high-quality audiobooks to over 7000 people across the UK who find it difficult or impossible to read due to illness or disability.
  • Beanstalk
    Beanstalk is a national charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading.
  • Literacy Volunteers
    Literacy Volunteers is a Nottinghamshire based charity that enriches young people’s lives by assisting with their literacy, communication and social skills. We work in partnership with schools by providing trained and supported Volunteers who make reading and communicating enjoyable to those at risk of disengaging from education.
  • Readathon
    Readathon is a charity that runs the UK’s biggest sponsored reading campaign. It provides a stimulating focus for recreational reading and raises money for seriously ill children.
  • Readwell
    ReadWell brings the therapeutic power of books and storytelling to children in hospital

  • Bag Books
    Bag Books is the only organisation in the world publishing multi-sensory stories for people with profound learning disabilities. Each year we reach around 15,000 children and adults with learning disabilities.
  • Dorset Reading Partners
    Dorset Reading Partners recruits and trains volunteers to work in local primary schools, helping children with their reading development. Our reading partners work one to one with children in half hour sessions away from the classroom. They talk, share books and play games in order to increase the child’s confidence and motivation, as well as their communication and literacy skills.
  • Outside In
    A UK charity that supports and promotes the publication of children’s books in translation from around the world. You can read an interview with Edgardo Zaghini from Outside In here.
  • National Literacy Trust
    The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that changes lives through literacy. We campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance and impact of literacy on all our lives.
  • Seven Stories: The Centre for Children’s Books
    Seven Stories is the first museum in the UK wholly dedicated to the art of British children’s books. A donation will help fulfil the building’s potential by making it a new kind of environment for involvement, education, and enjoyment of children’s books.
  • Book Cycle
    Book-Cycle is a registered charity based in Exeter, England. We collect unwanted books and trees, and house them in one of our “free”bookshops.” Here you are invited to choose up to three books per person per day and pay whatever you wish! After minimal running costs, half the proceeds send relevant literature to developing countries, while the other half goes to planting trees around Britain.
  • Read International
    We are a network of regional student-volunteer-led projects collecting disused books from schools across the UK. We sort them, match them to the Tanzanian/Ugandan syllabus and, if relevant, we send them to East Africa. Any book not relevant to send (we don’t take religious/political books for example) is sold online to generate much needed funding. If it can’t be sent or sold, we recycle it, generating more funding. It’s a simple process. COLLECT, SORT, GENERATE, DISTRIBUTE, RECYCLE. But then, after we’ve collected the books from the UK schools we even deliver a free workshop to educate school children about global citizenship and sustainability.
  • Book charities in Australia

  • Charity book sales in New South Wales, Australia
    Listing of local book sales to benefit charity
  • Indigenous Literacy Foundation
    The Foundation aims to make a positive and measurable difference in the early literacy levels of Indigenous Australian children in order to raise their prospects in schools.
  • Wall of Hands Indigenous Literacy Appeal – The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
    The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) is working with Indigenous communities and schools around Australia with the aim that 5 out of 5 kids will learn to read – the vital first step to a satisfying and successful life.
  • Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library
    Our vision is to empower homeless and disadvantaged people through books. The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library achieves this vision by delivering a regular supply of books to homeless and disadvantaged people living in hostels and on the streets, and through community organizations. Currently we operate in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Dymocks Children’s Charities
    Dymocks Children’s Charities recognises that reading is an essential tool for life and has developed a unique literacy support program that encourages students to cultivate a love for books and read every day “just because they want to”. Quite simply it’s about getting great books into their hands!
  • The Little Big Book Club
    The Big Book Club Inc. is a not for profit arts organisation committed to the promotion of reading, literature and Australian authors and illustrators.
  • Mary Mead – At Home With Books
    At Home With Books encourages parents and foster carers to read to and with children. Workshops promote enjoyment of books and provide tips and information to encourage adults to read aloud with children. AHWB aims every month to give each child connected to Marymead a brand new quality book as a gift. This is intended to encourage listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Paint the Town Read
    An Australian initiative which gets whole communities involved in reading with children and distributes books to children from birth to adolescence. You can read more about this charity here
  • Early Words
    The Early Words project was created to help parents in western Sydney prepare their children before school for the world of reading and writing.
  • Books in Homes Australia
    The primary purpose of the Books in Homes Australia Programme is to alter the journey of young children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances in Australia.
  • Book charities in the US

  • Reading is Fundamental
    RIF is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. They prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most.

  • 826 National
    826 National is a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. 826 centers offer a variety of inventive programs that provide under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills.

  • Book Harvest
    Book Harvest is a nonprofit organization, based in central North Carolina, that collects new and gently used children’s books and places them in the hands and homes of children who need them

  • Books through Bars
    We send quality reading material to prisoners and encourage creative dialogue on the criminal justice system, thereby educating those living inside and outside of prison walls.

  • Womens Prison Book Project
    Since 1994, the Women’s Prison Book Project (WPBP) has provided women and transgender persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics from law and education (dictionaries, GED, etc.) to fiction, politics, history, and women’s health. We are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization.

  • Behind the Book
    Behind The Book’s mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. We bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills and create a community of life-long readers and writers.

  • Brooke Jackman Foundation
    Our mission is to create and support programs enhancing the literacy and self-esteem of disadvantaged children and their families in and around the New York area. The Family Literacy Programs, Brooke Packs, and Brooke’s Books are among the projects we sponsor that help thousands of children in diverse city, agency, and school programs.

  • Arcs Float On
    ARCs Float On is a grassroots effort by Reach A Reader Advisory Board member Sarah Mulhern Gross to get ARCs into classroom libraries by matching willing donors with needy teachers. It’s a super system for book reviewers who have review copies they’d like to donate.

  • Judith’s Reading Room
    Judith’s Reading Room provides fully stocked, custom-designed permanent libraries and mobile book carts to organizations that serve people who have limited or no mobility and communities that have limited or no access to books.

  • Book it Forward
    Book-It-Forward is a program dedicated to the advancement of reading through the sharing of under utilized books. Book-It-Forward links individuals and institutions looking for books with those who possess books.

  • Florida Literacy Coalition
    The Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) promotes, supports and advocates for the effective delivery of quality adult and family literacy services in the state of Florida.

  • Literacy Kansas City
    Literacy Kansas City certifies volunteers as tutors and matches them with adult learners from across the Kansas City metropolitan area who want to improve their literacy skills.

  • Lullalee
    Lullalee is to level the playing field in educational services for disadvantaged, un-served and underserved children through reading and literacy; and to promote social change in communities. Lullalee is based in California.

  • Read Indeed
    Read Indeed is a nonprofit literacy organization and the vision of Maria Keller, a book-loving 5th grader who wants to make the world a better place—one book at a time. Maria wants to collect and distribute 1 million books to needy kids by the time she’s 18. Based in Hopkins, MN, you can donate books nationwide in the name of Read Indeed.

  • First Book
    First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada
  • Reading Partners
    One-to-one literacy support in the USA, aiming to “help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results.”
  • Believe in Books Literacy Foundation
    The Believe in Books Literacy Foundation has a broadening mission to enhance the quality of life by education, promotion, encouragement and aide to those of all ages in the appreciation of reading and literature, making a positive impact on literacy. The Foundation is based in Northern New England.
  • Raising Readers in Wyoming
    Raising Readers in Wyoming encourages parents to read to their young children by providing beautiful new books as part of the well child health care visits. Raising Readers in Wyoming is modeled after Raising Readers, a successful health and literacy program in Maine.

  • Kids Need to Read
    Kids Need to Read works to create a culture of reading for children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged children. You can donate money, new books or your time to help this charity.
  • Reach Out and Read
    A US hospital based scheme where volunteers read with children and books are given to child patients at every check-up from the age of six months to five years. As well as learning more about Reach Out and Read from their own website, you can read about them here.
  • Book Ends
    BookEnds, a nonprofit organization based in Southern California, is about Kids Helping Kids. BookEnds recycles children’s books through student-run book drives and places them in schools and youth organizations in need of books.

  • Books to Prisoners
    Books To Prisoners (BTP) is a Seattle-based, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that sends books to prisoners in the United States. BTP believes that books are tools for learning and opening minds to new ideas and possibilities. By sending books to prisoners, we hope to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.
  • Alaska Literacy Program
    ALP recruits, trains, certifies, and supports volunteer teachers and tutors in and around Anchorage who work one-on-one or in a classroom setting teaching reading, writing and speaking English to over 1000 adults a year.
  • The Comic Book Project
    The Comic Book Project engages children in a creative process leading to literacy reinforcement, social awareness, and character development, then publishes and distributes their work for other children in the community to use as learning and motivational tools.
  • K.I.D.S
    K.I.D.S. brings hope and self-esteem to children in need and their families by providing new clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and juvenile products donated by leading manufactures and retailers.
  • Family Reading Partnership
    The Family Reading Partnership is a non-profit community organization that promotes early literacy. We are a broad-based, locally grown coalition of individuals, businesses, schools, libraries and other organizations. We have joined forces to “create a culture of literacy” by promoting family reading practices throughout our community. New York based, happy to receive books and volunteers.
  • If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything
    Our Goals: To Encourage… Native children and community members to read for pleasure. To Provide… Indian communities with opportunities to engage in and communicate about reading. To Promote… Library use at tribal schools. To Help Improve… Tribal school library collections. To Support… Tribal school librarians!
  • Words Travel
    Words Travel “is the first national literacy and family strengthening program for incarcerated parents and their children. The venture is a partnership between Scholastic and Volunteers of America”. You can read more about this organization here.
  • Project Cicero
    We are an annual non-profit book drive designed to create – or supplement – school and classroom libraries for children in under-resourced New York City public schools.
  • Children’s Literacy Foundation
    Our mission is to inspire a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.

  • Darien Book Aid Plan (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website, www.sarahlamstein.com)
    Darien Book Aid is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that builds a foundation of peace, understanding, and friendship by distributing free books. Book Aid sends books in response to specific requests from Peace Corps volunteers, libraries and schools all over the world Books are also donated to libraries, prisons, hospitals, Native American and Appalachian groups in the United States.
  • Reader to Reader (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website, www.sarahlamstein.com)
    Reader to Reader, Inc. is a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need.
  • International Book Project (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website, www.sarahlamstein.com)
    The International Book Project is an international nonprofit whose mission is to promote education and literacy while broadening Americans’ understanding of their neighbors by sending quality used books overseas.
  • The Bridge of Books Foundation
    Working in the New Jersey area, The Bridge of Books Foundation provides new and used books directly to children and children’s organizations. BoB gets books into the hands of children who need them the most, yet have the least access to books. BoB gives books to foster family agencies, homeless shelters, Head Start programs, underfunded schools and after-school programs, neighborhood centers, boys and girls clubs, and directly to children at food pantries.
  • Books for International Goodwill (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website, www.sarahlamstein.com)
    Books for International Goodwill (B.I.G.) has successfully recycled used books for productive use by those who need books for schools and libraries to improve literacy in developing communities around the world. B.I.G. is a project begun by the Parole Rotary Club of Annapolis and is now an independent non-profit entity. It’s motto is “Spreading Literacy by Keeping Books Alive”.
  • The Reading Tub
    The Reading Tub is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting reading and literacy. The Reading Tub collects and distributes books to at-risk readers, whether it is a child with no books at home or a teacher building a classroom library for her struggling students. Donations fund this work, and 100% of the money we receive goes to providing literacy information and shipping books.
  • Milk and Bookies
    A nationwide charitable organization that inspires children to give back, using books as its currency.

  • Books Are Magic
    We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit that builds home libraries for children in need. We hope to foster a love of reading and improve literacy in Wake County, NC.


  • Book charities in Canada

  • Books with No Bounds
    The mission of Books With No Bounds is to provide Aboriginal children and teens living in remote communities, with books donated by publishers, authors, schools, individuals and organizations. Books With No Bounds organizes, catalogues, packs, and sends appropriate books to the Nishnawbe Aski Nations so that Aboriginal children and teens are given critical building blocks for literacy success.

  • First Book
    First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada
  • Reading Tree
    We have two missions: First, we keep books from contributing to the saturation of our nation’s landfills. Second, we collect books from families who no longer want them, and deliver them to children, families, schools and libraries that desperately need them.
  • ABC Life Literacy
    ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy skills.

  • Indigo Love of Reading Foundation
    The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation was established to address the underfunding of Canadian school libraries and the literacy crisis. Love of Reading provides grants for the purchase of new books and education resources to high-needs elementary schools.
  • Calgary Reads
    Calgary Reads is an early literacy initiative changing the lives of struggling grade 1 and 2 readers and their families in Calgary and area schools.

  • Essential Skills Ontario
    Essential Skills Ontario inspires and leads the development of literacy and essential skills solutions through excellence in collaboration, research and innovation.

  • Read to Me
    Read to Me! is a non-profit, province-wide early reading promotion program. We provide FREE books and reading resources to every baby born in Nova Scotia to encourage parents and caregivers to read to their baby from the very start..
  • Book charities in Africa

  • SHINE
    Shine is a literacy charity that works in Zambia. They run a literacy school in a shanty town in Lusaka which has around 150 children all learning how to read and write. Every child receives a daily meal at the school and pays no fees whatsoever.

  • Books for Zambia
    Founded in 2003, Books for Zambia puts books in Zambian libraries to promote and foster safe and free learning environments for local communities.

  • Lubuto Library Project
    The Lubuto project creates high quality, open-access libraries to serve Africa’s street kids and other vulnerable children and youth. The library provides a safe haven and an opening to the world beyond the bleak streets.

  • Books for Africa
    A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to students of all ages in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.

  • S.T.E.L.L.A.A.
    S.T.E.L.L.A.A. aims to provide literacy & educational resources in Africa, assisting in the eradication of poverty. We want to plant the seeds, and watch African communities grow! S.T.E.L.L.A.A. also has a strong focus on promoting environmental responsibility. By collecting used books and finding a new use for them, we reduce the carbon footprint.

  • Pelican Post
    Pelican Post is an exciting new postal service that allows you to make a direct contribution to stimulating a culture of reading in an African school by sending a book directly to that school
  • Help2Read
    A South African NGO which provides literacy support in schools. As well as visiting Help2Read’s website, you can find out more here.
  • A to Z Literacy Movement
    The team at A to Z Literacy Movement is passionate about providing books to Zambian children. The books will provide our partners with the necessary resources to strengthen literacy achievement in Zambia.
  • Book Aid for Africa
    BAFA is a major initiative aimed at promoting excellence in education in Africa. The initiative is helping to provide good quality books to under-resourced libraries in the remotest parts of Africa, and also making other educational resources available to schools and colleges in Africa.

  • Biblionef
    Our vision is to create lifelong readers who are good citizens, who can read and think for themselves, resulting in a society where everyone is literate; has access to education and finds reading both a great pleasure and a necessity.
  • School Aid
    School Aid sends schoolbooks and other educational resources direct to schools in need. We collect all these materials in the UK from schools and other donors. We provide this international recycling service with the help of people like you who give us donations and sponsor our transport and shipping. Our School Aid volunteers collect, sort and pack the boxes for each school before we ship them to African ports.
  • Friends of African Village Libraries
    FAVL’s goal is to assist the rural poor of Africa with the creation of village libraries. FAVL refurbishes community-donated buildings, transforming them into a space to read and study. Libraries are stocked with books by local authors and in local languages to the greatest extent possible. In addition, FAVL sponsors librarian training and provides for librarian salaries, thereby empowering locals with skilled employment
  • Ethiopia Reads
    Our mission: To create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books.
  • TEABAG
    TEABAG is a charity in aid of The Education And Book Appeal for Ghana. The work carried out by the charity aims to improve the education of young people in Ghana by providing basic equipment, books and educational facilities.
  • Link Ethiopia
    For over ten years Link Ethiopia has been providing schools in Ethiopia with relevant text and reading books.
  • Community H.E.A.R.T.
    The campaign aim is to set up school libraries in South Africa so children will have access to books they enjoy reading: story books, novels, information books, the sort of book you would give a child or young person for their birthday or their Christmas. The idea is to help create a culture of reading by giving children access to books, therefore encouraging literacy and helping support school studies.
  • Wings of the Dawn
    Our Vision is to establish functional literate communities in Africa to bridge the gap between poverty and prosperity. Our Mission is to help build economically stable and productive societies in African communities by ensuring access to self-sustaining educational centers for its citizens.
  • The International Children’s Literacy Corps
    The International Children’s Literacy Corps (ICLC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 that has as its mission to increase literacy among pre-school children in the developing world, starting with sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Read International
    We are a network of regional student-volunteer-led projects collecting disused books from schools across the UK. We sort them, match them to the Tanzanian/Ugandan syllabus and, if relevant, we send them to East Africa. Any book not relevant to send (we don’t take religious/political books for example) is sold online to generate much needed funding. If it can’t be sent or sold, we recycle it, generating more funding. It’s a simple process. COLLECT, SORT, GENERATE, DISTRIBUTE, RECYCLE. But then, after we’ve collected the books from the UK schools we even deliver a free workshop to educate school children about global citizenship and sustainability.
  • Books Open the World
    Books Open the World (BOTW) is a non-profit, secular organization that seeks to promote and encourage education and opportunity in rural communities (especially in Uganda) to children and women through community libraries, literacy classes, vocational training, support groups, and by supporting all levels of education.
  • Literacy in a Box
    The Rotary Club of Rodborough, Plymouth sends out educational supplies to two selected schools in Zambia.
  • India

  • Pratham and Pratham Books
    Pratham is the largest non governmental organisation working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. Pratham’s flagship program, Read India, helps to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of the children in the age group of 6-14 years. As part of this programme, Pratham Books publishes affordable and quality books for children in multiple Indian languages. Their mission is to see “a book in every child’s hand” and democratize the joy of reading.
  • Katha
    Katha’s main objective is “To enhance the joy of reading”. They run 2 story centres, translate books into various Indian languages and promote reading in schools.
  • Eklavya
    Eklavya is a non-profit, non-government organisation that develops and field tests innovative educational programmes and trains resource people to implement these programmes. It functions through a network of education resource centres located in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Other book-related charities and organisations

  • Charity Books
    Charity Books was set up in 2004 to provide a book selling and revenue generating service for UK charities. We specialise in the second hand book market and use that knowledge to maximise the prices achieved for books that have been donated for charitable use. NB. We are a business not a charity.
  • Books for Brazil
    Books for Brazil is dedicated to helping underprivileged children from Brazil have access to books. This organization raises funds, acquires books, and distributes them among children and youth of low-income families.
  • Bridge to Asia
    Donate your books to universities in China
  • Haiti Partners
    Haiti Partners aims “to help Haitians change Haiti through education”. They are helping to rebuild the schools destroyed in the January earthquake 2010 and some schools have actually opened. However, none of the schools have books! There is a great need for books in French or Haitian Creole and Haiti Partners is attempting to provide those books. They also spend many hours in teacher training.
  • Better World Books
    Better World Books collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than six million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.
  • Worldwide Book Drive
    Worldwide Book Drive is a social venture seeking to improve global literacy and the environment. Our simple program is a hub to make this happen. We collect books and sort them for recycling or redistribution. NB This is a business, not a charity.
  • The Literacy Site – Click to give
    The Literacy Site is dedicated to funding free books for children. On average, over 80,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. To date, more than 87 million visitors have helped provide more than 1.6 million books to children who need them the most.
  • Open Books
    A nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond. NB This is not a charity.
  • International Book Bank
    The International Book Bank works with non-profit literacy programs in the developing world to supply them with high-quality new books and educational materials.
  • Mexico Book Project
    A small charity taking Spanish language books to Mexico from Georgia, US.
  • Developments in Literacy
    Developments in Literacy (DIL) educates and empowers underprivileged students, especially girls, by operating student-centered model schools; and provides high-quality professional development to teachers and principals across Pakistan
  • Help the Afghan Children
    HTAC is proud to sponsor the development and distribution of an original series of illustrated storybooks written especially for Afghan school children.

  • Big Brother Mouse
    We “make literacy fun” by holding book parties in rural Laos. Then we leave enough books in every classroom for a sustained silent reading program. Every day, children spend time reading. They never had an opportunity for that before.

  • The Asia Foundation
    Books for Asia puts one million brand-new books into the hands of students, educators, and local and national leaders in 19 countries annually.

  • Biblioworks
    BiblioWorks promotes education and literacy in communities in need. We believe that healthy communities require healthy minds. That’s why we have been building libraries, supplying books and training librarians in the poorest communities of Bolivia since 2005.
  • Gone Reading
    Not a charity, but an online giftshop for readers, which donates 100% of company profits in perpetuity to fund reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.

  • If you know of any other book-related charities do let me know via a comment and I shall add their details to the list. Remember, every comment is worth 50p to a literacy charity – and if your comment really helps me to improve this list for next year, you get to choose which charity/organization I donate to.

    Other lists also exist of book related charities, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try one of these:

  • Global Giving – search using keywords “books”, “reading”, “literacy”.
  • The post at blog Steph Su Reads entitled “So you want to donate books?”


  • Thanks to everyone, past and present, who helped me compile the original version of this list including Karin Tusting, Bonnie Boles, Matt Finch, Jane Stemp Wickenden, Jennifer Rothschild, Heidi Hammond, Nancy Thalia Reynolds, Jan Springy, Judith Ridge, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Jane Kurtz, Jenn Geringer, Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Jackie, Bridget Carrington, Gayle Baigelman, Carol Hampton Rasco and Valarie Budayr. Thanks too to Sarah, Jim Brennan, Amina Marix Evans, Doug Calder, Elli, Joanna Marple, Katie Davies, Jackie Morris, Kirsten Grant, Mrs Brown’s Books, Daisy Johnson, Sarah McIntyre and Sara who have also passed on information to me about even more reading/literacy charities and organisations. If I’ve missed you off this list, this is an oversight and I apologise.

    If you know of other charities (or similar) doing great book/literacy work, please leave their details in the comments ON THIS POST (live from Feb 14 2014).

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