Books for Schools That Need Them

This might surprise you but I was never a big reader as a kid. In fact, I wouldn’t be caught dead with a book. This lasted all the way to university.

While never lazy, I was ignorant to the infinite possibility that books opened up. Once I realized what I’d been missing I made a point to never make money an issue when it came to reading (time to read on the other hand is harder to come by.)

When I got a job, I offered to buy my brothers as many books as they wanted as long as they read them.

Well my brothers are all grown up now. They can afford their own books but not everyone is that fortunate.

Last year on twitter, I asked a simple question.

I wanted to know if there were any parents out there struggling to buy a book for their kids for Christmas. If so, I’d take care of the first 20.

I wasn’t sending 20 random books or trying to get rid of anything. Rather, I wanted to know what book the kids wanted — that’s the book I’d send them. Who wants to read a book they don’t want?

Once people realized I was serious, things got a bit out of control for the rest of the night. Generous Farnam Street readers, like you, chipped in offering to take the next ten or the next twenty.

All in we purchased over 170 books. I lost count at that point but I’m pretty sure we were north of 200 when it stopped. Together we did an awesome thing.

Just thinking about it makes my eyes water a little.

In addition to hearing from parents, I heard from teachers who couldn’t afford to buy books for their classrooms.

This year I want to do it again but I need your help — I want to make it easier to participate and easier for me to organize.

Here is what I need from you….
If you know of any teachers or schools struggling with budget cuts to buy the books the kids want and need to learn from, tell them to email me their Amazon wishlist today. Any that I can easily verify, will get posted below. I’ll update this page a few times today.

If you want to buy a book for a school that needs one, that’s awesome. Simply, click on a link, purchase a book, and it will go right to one of the schools that need them. I’d only ask that you send me an email with your Amazon order number and the number of books you purchased so I can keep a final tally. The first 30 are on me.

And, hey, Thanks.

(update: We’re over 300 books given away this year. I’ve been removing wishlists that were entirely fulfilled by generous Farnam Streeters.)


United States

Luke Neff’s class in Newberg, OR

Global Village Project 2014-2015 Wish List, “an absolutely amazing place for girls that either have never been to school or have had interrupted education in refugee camps before arriving in the U.S.”

Libri Foundation (The Libri Foundation is a nationwide nonprofit organization that has donated over $6,200,000 worth of new, hardcover children’s books to more than 3,000 rural public libraries in the United States. )


Red Lake Madsen Public School Library in Red Lake, Ontario, Canada “This list contains requests from students or teachers and /or replacement copies of previously owned books.”

Midland Secondary School in Midland, Ontario, Canada