Raising money for a good cause by building with books

posted in: Real crazy stuff | 9


To celebrate World Book Day 2015 and to support the work of Book Aid International, I’ll be spending most of Thursday 5 March 2015 creating utter chaos in my home, using hundreds of our books to build the largest book den I can.

As a reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m utterly passionate about children’s books and doing crazy things inspired by them. It’s what gets me up in the morning. But building a large scale book den out of books is wackiest thing I’ve yet tried to do. I haven’t done a recent book count, but I reckon I’ve got about 3000 to play with, so that gives you some sense of the scale of the challenge.

bookaidIt’s going to be pretty disruptive, probably physically knackering and quite possible a challenge to the laws of gravity so please donate to Book Aid International to make it all worthwhile! You can donate securely online here:


Or if you prefer you can donate via text by texting BOOK62 £3 to 70070 (you can change the amount by swapping £5 or £10 for the £3).

I’ve been a supporter of Book Aid International for several years now. Book Aid International increases access to books to support literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa, including in Zambia where I was born. In 2011 the girls and I completed a fundraising Librarithon, and in 2012 we played “guess the number of books in my home“.

In sub-Saharan Africa 151 million people are illiterate. 72 million children still do not got to school, and most people simply cannot afford books of their own. But without literacy people are not able to access education or healthcare, their work opportunities are limited as are their opportunities for participation in the social, economic and political decisions which affect their lives.

Each year Book Aid International sends 500,000 brand new and carefully selected books to libraries in communities, schools, universities, prisons, cities and refugee camps and more. They also provide grants for purchasing books locally (especially those in local languages), and training and advice to ensure that books are targeted to the right groups of people and are well used.

When it comes to donations…

£2 will send one book to sub-Saharan Africa
£10 could send five dictionaries to a university library in Tanzania
£24 could send 12 health books to a community library in rural Eritrea
£60 could send 30 books to a refugee camp in Kenya
£100 could help purchase 70 HIV/AIDS awareness books for children
£380 will send a starter collection of 200 books to a community library

I’m aiming to raise £500.

I’ll be tweeting my progress throughout the day on March 5 (@playbythebook), and will then blog about it once the den is built and habitable. You can donate any time (before, during or after the build).

If you’ve ever enjoyed my blog, found it useful, or been helped out on twitter by me, please consider “paying it forward” by donating today to Book Aid International.

*Thank you* (and please wish me good luck and stable building skills!)

9 Responses

  1. Claire Potter

    Absolutely love this idea!

    When I heard recently that one of the prizes in Radio 2’s 500-words writing competition for kids is a pile of books as tall as yourself, I thought that was quirky and exciting! (In fact, my daughter made a pile of books her height to see how many it would be (177 books in her case!). But this is quirkier and more exciting – can’t wait to see the finished result! Good luck!
    Claire Potter recently posted..Humanize the streets: Go googly-eyeing

  2. Ruth Dryden

    I am imagining the hard work putting them back – but what a great opportunity for a weed and a spring clean! Best of luck – I will be rooting for you!


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