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The gift of reading by Anabel Marsh

Reading is the greatest gift – it opens up so many new worlds. It’s not just the obvious benefits of functional literacy: stories have the power to bring emotions to life, by helping children to understand their own feelings and those of others. In other words, reading builds empathy*, the ability to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” – and isn’t this something the world needs more than ever these days?

The children in your life probably already have easy access to this gift. I certainly did – that’s me in the picture, aged three, with one of my Christmas presents. However, many children don’t have the advantages of growing up in a house full of books, or with parents that take them to libraries. Every Christmas, I try to do something about that. This year, I’ve chosen The Book Bus, which delivers books to schools in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador. I’m reassured from their website that this is not a charity which dumps unwanted, inappropriate second-hand material – they ask schools what they want and only buy top quality up-to-date books. This ensures that the children have a positive experience and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime. ​

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Could you also give the gift of reading? The excellent blog Playing by the Book lists over 150 Literacy / Book charities from all over the world that you could choose from. Happy giving!

* See Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing, research from The Reading Agency finds.

Author Bio:
Anabel Marsh loves books, travel and her home city of Glasgow, Scotland. She blogs regularly on these topics at Anabel’s Travel Blog and (rather less regularly) at Adventures of a Retired Librarian. Find her on Twitter @AnabelMarsh.