Environment

Independent bookshop crowdfunder will get Greta Thunberg book to 800 schools

The Big Green Bookshop teamed up with novelist Melissa Harrison to raise more than £12,000 that will get the environmental campaigner’s No One Is Too Small To Make a Difference into schools around the UK

Greta Thunberg

The inspirational words of Greta Thunberg will be heading to children in 800 schools around the UK thanks to a smash-hit crowdfunder from Big Green Bookshop.

The independent bookshop teamed up with novelist Melissa Harrison at the end of July to launch the crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise enough money to get 10 copies of the book into 10 different schools in 25 days.

They smashed that goal within two days, enabling them to launch a stretch goal that more than trebled their initial ask of £3,000 to ask for £10,000.

Once again, that target was reached with 10 days of the campaign remaining – and an incredible £12,705 has now been raised.

Add book publisher Penguin’s pledge to match the number of copies that the campaigners raised funds for and there is now enough money for 8,000 books, enabling 10 copies to be sent to 800 schools.

Big Green Bookshop co-owner and Big Issue Changemaker Simon Key insisted that the successful campaign has “fired him up” as he sorts through the 1,100 emails he received, many from teachers and schools struggling to fill their shelves across the country.

The plan is to start shipping copies of the book, which collects the 15-year-old environmental activist’s speeches and retails at £2.99, next week to give kids returning to school “a real treat”.

“It’s been incredible, it could not have gone any better,” Simon told The Big Issue.

“It’s such a good opportunity to get these books out to kids who will really appreciate them and be inspired by them, that’s the whole point.

Independent Bookshops Alliance John Bird Simon Key Darren Henley
Darren-Henley-John-Bird-Simon-Key-Independent-bookshops
Arts Council England chief Darren Henley (left) joins John Bird and Simon Key at the Independent Bookshops Alliance launch

“It’s not just about climate change, it’s about kids believing in themselves, they are not too small to make a difference, they’ve got a voice and it’s just as important as anyone else’s voice, it’s about how they use it.”

We recognised Simon and co-founder Tim West’s work with the Big Green Bookshop in our top 100 Changemakers list this year for their championing of literacy and independent bookshops.

The physical Wood Green shop closed at the start of the year with the venture heading online where their #buyastrangerabook initiative attracted a following on Twitter by inviting strangers to buy each other books.

This later turned into #buyShelterabook, raising £2,500 for the charity’s homelessness hubs.

It’s stuff like this that really keeps me fired up and motivated to keep banging on about books

The now-weekly #buyastrangerabook played a pivotal role in connecting Simon with All Among The Barley scribe Harrison and has now snowballed into a perfectly timed boon for kids returning to school.

Simon said: “We had a mixture of responses some who got in touch simply put their name and address, some explained things, some sent past work and there were some who just said, “We would love some books for our school because we don’t have a budget anymore”.

“I see that all the time on Twitter and with the schools I work with.

“It’s early in the school year and it’s a real treat for the kids going back to school.

“It’s stuff like this that really keeps me fired up and motivated to keep banging on about books.”

Image: Anders Hellberg

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