Monday, September 7, 2015

The Authors, Publishers, and Readers Changing #SyrianRefugees Lives

Author Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Rest of Us Just Live Here) was watching the news as people, cities, and governments turned away Syrian refugees. He wanted to do something about it.

Huthaifa Shqeirat "To understand the sheer scale of the Syrian refugee situation, here's a picture of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan."

So Patrick Ness decided to do something. He started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Save the Children, a respected charity, and promised to match whatever his fans and friends could raise, up to
£10,000. Click here to see what happened.

The Syrian refugees and Patrick Ness had more friends than they knew. Within hours, Ness had three more authors, then Hank Green of Vlogbrothers, and then authors' organizations, publishers, bookshops, and more contributing or offering to match contributions. We gave what we could. We encouraged others. But most of all, we want you to know what a staggering difference people who create and love books can make.

As I write this, over 5700 donors have raised over £500,000.00. UK donors can ask that their government add in Gift Aid, which is kind of like a British national donation-matching program, and there are more pledges from authors, publishers, bookshops, and others to contribute matching gifts or to donate the proceeds of fundraisers they're hosting. The net in USA dollars? $954,217. Ness started this campaign Thursday, September 3. Readers like you, authors like you, concerned world people like you raised a million dollars in five days.

There's more to do. Look at that camp above. Those people need water, food, blankets, waste disposal, clothes, legal aid, jobs, new homes. It may seem like you can't possibly do enough. But you can do something. You can click here and contribute. From the child who gave her £3 in pocket money to author Philip Pullman matching £10,000 and drawing £5,000 more from his Bellacqua Charitable Trust, people are helping. Let's make it a movement. Let's show the Syrians that readers and writers and publishers and illustrators and bookshops and libraries are people and places of compassion, and that we will do what we can to see them to safety and maybe, even, real hope.

Click and pass it on: This is the link to this charitable campaign.

Meanwhile, you can do one more thing. If you're in the Iowa City area, you can call here or Uptown Bill's or  Prairie Lights or check at Iowa City Public Library - or if you're elsewhere, at your local library or on or - great places to find books from independent bookshops - and look for books by these authors, each of whom have joined this project, and each of whom we admire and recommend....

The List of Authors Helping Patrick Ness Raise Money for Syrians - and Their Books!

(We're sure there will be more, and we'll be happy to expand this list. If we missed an author or publisher, or if you would like for us to add a link to your author or publisher homepage or recommend a particular title of yours, just drop us an email!)

Read these books. Read because when we read, we discover we are not alone. Read because when we read, we learn about other people, and we learn how to imagine their lives and homes. Read because reading teaches personal stories, useful information, important ideas, and compassion. Read because we all need to look at the world from a different angle - or another world from another angle - sometimes. Read these authors because they are showing us how to be good people in a hard time, and that makes them really special.

With thanks, love, and our best wishes and efforts to the refugees,
The Haunted Bookshop

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