Friday, August 11, 2006

BOOKS: Give a Little, Get a Lot

I recently got an email from Chasity (who has a book blog called I Feel Pithy, which you should definitely check out when you get a chance):
I am trying to raise book donations for the Oasis Youth Shelter in Ft. Myers, Florida. The Shelter cares for 350-375 children between the ages of 10-17. The kids fall into one of four categories: truant, runaway, homeless, or designated ungovernable by the state of Florida.

My mom has been volunteering there and after listening to some of the stories, I felt the least I could do was donate some much-needed books to the shelter's library. I've gotten most of my friends to donate as well. I've been collecting and shipping them as they come in and I've even set up a wish list at

My request is for you to recommend some books for the wishlist. If you could help me fill out the list with books that would appeal to 10-to-17-year-olds (mostly female), I would really appreciate it. The book drive has no timeline as I plan to keep going until the day I die.
I know that so many of you have already given generously to the Dewey Donation System in support of the libraries affected by Hurricane Katrina, and I'm hoping that you can come through yet again for the kids at the Oasis Youth Shelter. Even if you can't afford to send new books, there are other ways you can help:

1. Recommend books for the wish list.
I know from experience that you guys have no shortage of opinions when it comes to book suggestions (heheh), so please post away in the comments section. As Chasity mentions, they're looking at books for 10-to-17-year-olds, particularly girls and young women, so please bear that in mind. Amy Palmer, who is the clinical director for the shelter, would like donations to be age appropriate, with a minimum of violence and sexuality. Amy also says they're interested in many of the following types of books:
  • Reference books (including atlases and encyclopedias)
  • Dictionaries (kid-friendly and teen-friendly, as well as traditional) for use during homework time
  • Blank journals (The shelter would like to encourage more journaling by the kids.)
  • Sports
  • Books on how things work
  • Career choices
  • Historical and biographical
  • Arts and crafts (Amy says that some of the kids show a lot of interest in making things, so arts and crafts kits would be great, too.)
2. Send your own gently used books.
Check out the wish list or the guidelines above, and see if you have any appropriate books that you're done with. (Come on, deep down you know it's time for a good ol' fashioned book purge. And think about all the lovely space you'll make available on your shelves... for more books!)

Any donations can be sent directly to the shelter:
Oasis Youth Shelter
3634 Central Avenue
Ft. Myers, FL 33901
Chasity is in the process of working out shipping for those who can't afford to mail the books themselves, but she mentions that's probably a little ways off. Oh, and if you do send books that are on the wish list, please be sure to email Chasity at chasitymoody[AT]ifeelpithy[DOT]com to let her know, so she can remove the book from the wishlist.

3. And of course, there's always that Amazon wish list.
Even if you can't send anything now, bookmark it. You never know what riches the future holds for you! And please, please consider forwarding this post to your book-loving friends.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I knew there was a reason I loved your site so much.

Tammy said...

You're welcome, Chasity!

Now, as to my reading suggestions, I have to confess that I'm not so knowledgeable about non-fiction, but given the fiction titles already on the wish list, here are a few more off the top of my head:

- Harriet the Spy
- all of the Little House books
- The Girl with the Silver Eyes
- A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan
- A Wrinkle in Time
- A Wizard of Earthsea
- The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 1/4
- The Pinballs by Betsy Byars
- Caddie Woodlawn
- Black Beauty
- Bambi (the novel, which is beautiful)
- any of Judy Blume's books (Do the kids still read these? Am I dating myself here?)
- Franny and Zooey
- Flowers for Algernon
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Oh, and I was a total beading freak when I was in high school (actually, I still am), so maybe some books about beading, plus beading supplies?

Egad. Thinking of books for teenagers is HARD. Why is it so difficult to remember what I read back then? I'm interested to see what everyone else comes up with.

Anonymous said...

When I was a young teen I hated all historical fiction, until a friend made me read an Ann Rinaldi book. I proceeded to devour the rest of her books. Sure, they're all the same general story after awhile, but they're all about girls in tough situations trying to do the right thing.

Marissa said...

I wish I could afford to contribute actual books! I'll contribute a suggestion: The Diary of A Young Girl (Anne Frank)?

Claire said...

I have bookmarked the Wish List! Thanks for the suggestion!

Amanda Roper said...

I was an runaway in my teens. I left home at sixteen and lived here and there. I've since found books that I wished I had known about in that time of my life.

Atlas of the Human Heart by Ariel Gore

Poetry -- lots of poetry: Plath, Sexton, Millay, any and all poetry

And of course -- the teen girls Catcher in the Rye -- The Bell Jar

Anonymous said...

For the teens: Sharon Flake, anything at all by her, but especially Money Hungry; Begging for Change; and Who am I without Him?. Other authors...Sharon Draper, Walter Dean Myers, Jack Gantos' Hole in My Life (much of his other stuff is for the younger ones, too), and for sheer entertainment, Scott Westerfeld.

For nonfiction, check out the Sibert Awards given out by the American Library Association. They are all over the place as to subject, but uniformly excellent.

One more, the favorite book of my childhood, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

spacepotatoes said...

What good timing! I am about to begin my own "unbookening" in the next few weeks, so I'd be glad to ship out anything I find that may be appropriate.

My suggestions for the wishlist:
- The Giver, Lois Lowry. This was one of my favourites.
- Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic. I've reread this a few times over the years and it still moves me.
- Lost in the Barrens, Farley Mowat
- Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
- Joan Lowry Nixon (I really hope I have that name right!) books - I don't know about her more recent stuff, unfortunately but I remember loving the mystery/supsense novels she used to write back in my day (about 10 years ago)
- The Baby-Sitter's Club series, Ann M. Martin, for the younger set.
- I loved Agatha Christie books back then as well, but I don't know if those would be considered appropriate here.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Being just on the very end of this age range, AND going through the process of trying to decide which books will make the cross-country move into residence with me next week, I give you my list:
On the younger end there are Roald Dahl's Matilda, The Witches, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and, if possible, and The Great Glass Elevator.) When I was younger I loved a series of books called The Royal Diaries and I specifically loved the one about Elizabeth I. In the middle, there are Louise Rennison’s books, starting with Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and continuing on through the entire series.
I remember Bloomability by Sharon Creech being very, very good and easy to relate to when my military family was always on the move. My current favourite young adult fiction authors are Ned Vizzini (specifically It’s Kind of a Funny Story: A Novel, which deals with depression and Teen Angst? Naaah, which deals with being a teenager!) and Tamora Pierce (The Song of the Lioness Quartet, the Wild Magic Quartet, Trickster’s Queen and Trickster’s Choice)

And of course, you can never go wrong with Harry Potter.

The Bouldins said...

I second the author suggestions of Sharon Flake, Sharon Draper, Sharon Creech and Tamora Pierce. I also add Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Nikki Grimes, Garth Nix, Madeleine L'Engle, Susan Cooper, Vivian Vande Velde, Cynthia Voigt, Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials series), Lois Lowry (Anastasia series for the middle schoolers), E. L. Konigsburg and Angela Johnson.
Watership Down by Richard Adams was one of my teen favorites.

Anonymous said...

Anything by Lois Lowry, and seconding the Tamora Pierce.

Also going to throw in a rec for the Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block.

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley is one of my favorite novels--definitely aimed at teenage girls but so good that I have gotten twenty-something year old guys to admit it's good.

I'd also recommend The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Girls on the upper end of that scale might be ready for Patricia McKillip, particularly The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Winter Rose, and Song for the Basilisk.

The Artemis Fowl books are great for middle-schoolers of both genders.

Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, as well as short story collection Across the Wall) are good stuff.

In the way of poetry, I'm going to suggest Carol Ann Duffy, particularly any anthology that she edited--Hand in Hand and Overheard on a Salmarsh are a beautiful way to introduce young women to the best of contemporary poets.

Anonymous said...

Years later, my friends and I still talk about how amazing "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" by Avi is.

SEM said...

For the older set

Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Authurian Legend from the viewpoint of the womem.

Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean Auel

Songmaster - Orson Scott Card - very powerful

And I Robot - Isaac Asimov

Anonymous said...

Is Nancy Drew appropriate? Because, damn, you could find a lot of those books. And probably cheap.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your site for some time, and have also been looking for somewhere to send my childhood books. I didn't want to just throw them away, and this shelter sounds like a place that could really use my books! Hopefully, they will entertain some other kid the way they did me! Thanks! -M.

Wide Lawns said...

What a wonderful idea, and for me its sort of local. I am going to try to get some stuff together to send! Here are my suggestions for the list:

Ellen Foster and its new sequel
Jacob Have I Loved
The Letter, the Witch and The Ring
all of the Witch's Sister books
Tailchaser's Song
Number the Stars
The Devils Arithmetic

Those were some of my favorites. I will add more as I think of them too. I LOVED Girl with Silver Eyes. I cannot tell you how many times when I was in 6th grade, I sat very still and concentrated on trying to make things move with my mind after reading that book!

Wide Lawns said...


I just read the Pullman Trilogy and they were amazing! They are making the first movie right now. Since I just finished them I may donate them for you, but i lent 2 of them out and have to get them back first.

Another favorite of mine as a teen were the Diaries of Adrian Mole, sort of a teen boy version of Bridget Jones, and ten times as hilarious.

kdmacken said...

To Kill a Mockinbird - Harper Lee
The Lost Garden - Helen Humphries

When I was a teenager I loved books about people on their quest for the meaning of life kinda thing.

Johnathon Livingston Seagull - Richard Bach
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo

crabbykate said...

There are so many great books here already - some of my absolute favourites during those years. I would add:

the S.E. Hinton books - especially The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now.

and maybe also Go Ask Alice. I think I read that book a dozen times the summer I was twelve.

crabbykate said...

I just re-read your entry and saw that you mentioned actual categories (that will teach me to hit publish before I finish reading!) So, in the line of books about arts & crafts, how about Debbie Stoller's Stitch N' Bitch? I know a couple of teen girls who love that book.

poodlesue said...

What a spectacular cause. I just ordered some books to be sent to them from the wish list. I also have some of my own books that I'll be sending as well. I work for a large publishing concern and have been gifted, by them, with many how to, fun books. Thank you!

largehearted boy said...

Have you gotten the youth shelter listed as a charity at BookMooch? With the bookswapping service growing, many good causes will benefit from members donating points (which become freely shipped books).

Diane Dehler said...

I think a wonderful book for readers who have experienced trauma in their family life is "The Great Gilly Hopkins" by Katherine Anne Patterson. It's a story about two abandoned children who learn to love each other and themselves.

Other books of Patterson's are equally wonderful such as "The Bridge to Terabithia" and "Of Nightingales That Weep." She has won numerous literary awards for her books and they embrace human struggle, tragedy and peak experiences. Her stories are the real thing and are not coy or cute middle class reads. They reach out to children who have experienced trauma/loss or the inner burning of the soul at a tender age.

I will think of some other books too and come back another time. You have my respect for your worthy efforts on behalf of children at risk.

Cheryl Tardif said...

I'm a Canadian author with a new novel--Whale Song--and I would like to donate some copies to this awesome cause. Whale Song is a "haunting" story perfect for ages 10-17, especially girls! :) It recently made's bestseller list and has received rave reviews.

(Dopple, I was born in Vancouver but now live in Edmonton, and I'm looking for hosts for a virtual book tour in August, sites/blogs to interview me and/or review Whale Song...if interested please email me at cherylktardif (at)

Back to Chasity and the Oasis Youth Centre...I will donate some copies of Whale Song. I'll add a special message and autograph them too. :) And I'll add some bookmarks.

A portion of my royalties from sales of Whale Song are already going to 3 Edmonton nonprofits--Hope Mission, the Bissell Centre and the Mustard Seed Church, helping the homeless, poor, hungry and runaways.

Chasity, I wish you all the best with this cause. There are so many people who need a helping hand and a friend...and a good book to escape to.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif