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Do you remember the magic of your first book? The first book I ever bought with my own money was Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss. I scrounged up all my pennies, quarties and Kennedy half-dollars and bought it at Thrifty Westie’s in Portville, New York. It’s one of my most vivid memories as a reader. I read that book over and over, memorized stanzas of the bouncy language and slept with it under my pillow.

Give them books...give them wings

Give them books...give them wings

In Salon, Gary Kamiya wrote, “There are certain books that become a permanent part of your life, like an old tree that stands at the bend of a favorite path. You may not notice them, but if they were taken away, the world would be less mysterious, less friendly, less itself. …[I]t is a complete world. And like the old friend that it is, it always welcomes you back.”

Okay, so Yertle the Turtle isn’t War and Peace. Doesn’t matter. It’s the magic that matters. Owning a book gave me wings. That’s why I want every child ever born to have a book of her own. And I’m not alone. Here’s a way to knock out that “OMIGAWD I forgot to get something for Aunt Myrna!” feeling that strikes you as you rush out the door to a family gathering–make a donation to literacy in her honor, print out the acknowledgment and stick it in a pretty card. Here’s the perfect place to donate:

First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books to disadvantaged children. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada.

And check it out on Charity Navigator–it gets its highest rating for efficient use of your donation. Do it. Do it now. Give a kid a book–it’s like giving her a set of wings. Trust me on this.

garden guest house“Charity sees the need, not the cause.”

–German proverb

It’s that time of year again. The tireless Brenda Novak–writer, friend, and mother to a boy living with diabetes–is holding her annual auction to benefit diabetes research. I’m offering up my garden guest house for a weekend at the beach on Puget Sound. Last year, this item was enjoyed by a writers’ group who had met online, and had never been together in person. They had perfect weather and a great time. Here’s some information from Brenda. Knock yourself out and check out the offerings. There’s something for everyone–that’s a promise.

sunrise at the beachDon’t miss Brenda Novak’s 4th Annual On-line Auction May 1 – May 31st at There will be nearly 1300 items, many of which you can’t find anywhere else, and something for every budget from a drumhead signed by a whole slew of famous music artists (Michael Jackson, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springstein, Madonna and too many others to list) to a treasure trove of fun items donated by aspiring author Lauren Hawkeye. In addition, aspiring novelists can bid on evaluations from some of the most powerful agents and editors in the business—some with the promise of a 24-hour response (unheard of in the publishing industry). And for the person who places the highest number of bids over all (even if that person doesn’t win a single item) a fabulous prize package that includes a brand new camcorder (worth over $1000). Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Go to to register and receive a $10 gift certificate to use toward your auction purchases.

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