Filling a void in bookless lives

Jan. 21, 2013 @ 08:44 AM

For most people reading this, we suspect, books and reading are simply a normal part of life, something we grew up with and take for granted.

True, that experience may increasingly involve computer screens or tablets, and may less often involve words on paper. Still, even for Kindle addicts and iPad fans, the physical book remains an important touchstone.

So it is only fitting that someone like local author Daniel Wallace would be bemused and concerned about those with whom he has been involved in adult literacy projects who never had a chance as children to develop a passion for reading.

“They didn’t have books in their homes and didn’t have books that become precious to them,” he says.

Wallace is joining with other authors and the nonprofit group Book Harvest to try to change that, book by book and household by household. The group collects new and “gently used” books to give away to children who don’t have books in the home.

The nonprofit will celebrate its second anniversary Monday at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill with the goal of collecting 10,000 books. If that goal seems ambitious, know that the energetic folks at Book Harvest already have distributed more than 100,000 books in their first two years.

Wallace is clear about what he thinks when he’s in a home without books. “I’m not exaggerating,” he says. “It feels like there’s an absence of some very vital forms of life.”

That absence can be filled, Ginger Young believes. “We can completely solve this problem,” says the optimistic founder and CEO of Book Harvest. “So many people have books they can donate or can purchase books if they don’t have any, and we can get them to those that need them.”

You can be among those people by going to FlyLeaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

You’ll help fill a void in some child’s life and perhaps awaken him or her to new and exciting possibilities for the future.