Book exchange provides free books for kids
by Briana Webster
May 10, 2014 | 1289 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chain letters have been around for many years, if not centuries. They usually contain urban legends or hoaxes and may be sent in the form of an actual letter or an email. However, one recent chain letter has been beneficial for families with young kids.

Walker County resident Brandi Woods received a letter in her mailbox back in February. It gave simple instructions on how her child could receive up to 36 books for the price of one, if she sends the letter on to others.

“There are two names at the bottom of the letter, and it tells you to buy one book for whomever’s No. 1 on the letter and mail it to them. So, you mail one book to whomever is No. 1 on the list and that’s all you’re responsible for doing, as far as what you spend,” Woods said. “Then, you move the name that’s No. 2 up to the No. 1 place and put your child’s name in the No. 2 spot then mail out six copies of the letter. If everyone participates after you buy the one book, your child should get 36 books back.”

Of course, not everyone will participate in the book exchange, but Woods said, “It’s a nice way to expand their library without having to spend a lot of money to do it.”

Some books received might be local, while others might be from other cities or even different states across the U.S.

Woods said her daughter’s books were sent from mostly local participants, but she did receive a few books from Cullman, Haleyville and one from New York.

“I’ve gotten one book from someone I do not know and then I received a few books from New York, but I mailed one of Camden’s (Woods’ daughter) letters to a little girl in New York. I spaced them and scattered them out just a little bit instead of sending them all to family members,” Woods said. “So, we got a few books from New York but most of everything else was from here. ... The neat thing is that by us sending it to New York we kind of started that trend with that group of people there. It could end up being something that would be more than just the Jasper area or local, you could get books from anywhere.”

A couple of the kid-friendly books may be sent with little messages inside from the purchaser. Woods said some of the books she received weren’t necessarily books she and her 4-year-old daughter would have chosen based on their covers, but she said they really enjoyed them once they were able to sit down and read the books. Also, it’s more fun for the children who expect to see a package come for them in person rather than reading something online.

“First of all, they are receiving books, which is good to promote reading. They are being kids. They’re excited every day to see what’s coming for them in the mail, so it’s a lot of fun,” Woods said. “I mean, yes, you could go buy the books, but it’s more fun in that respect. Your kids may get books that you wouldn’t have picked out for them. We got books that I probably wouldn’t have bought, but we liked them. And, it is inexpensive because you spend for one book and then get up to 36.”   

Camden said one of her favorite books she received in the mail was a “Charlie and Lola” book, based on fictional characters Lola, a spunky, little girl and her older brother, Charlie.

Woods said her daughter would run out to greet their mail carrier every time she would arrive at their house with a book.

“I remember getting the ‘Charlie and Lola’ book,” Camden said. “... I just thought it was fun, and I liked it.” 

“Once mine came in the mail, I definitely wanted to do it because I wanted the kids on the list in front of us to make sure they received all their books too,” Woods said. “ ... This is the first time I’ve seen one that was for kids, or one that I would really want to participate in. But, you could probably expand it. Books are one thing, but you could do anything.”