I dropped several copies of The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy off at a nearby fire station to be distributed as gifts to needy children.
I do this almost in protest because so many places are conducting "toy drives" and all they show for donations is cheap plastic crap that might amuse a child for an hour, if that. At least one campaign is also asking specifically for sports equipment, and I laud them for that.
When I drop them off, I hear that books are wonderful and much appreciated donations. Books are wonderful because they last. They're wonderful because they contain entire worlds of adventure, because they spark creativity and imagination, because they foster critical thinking. While books can be found in the public library -- at least, mine can -- to have a book of your own is like having a special, secret place to go, a world to visit, any time you want. Children love books.
If you're thinking of donating to a "toy drive" this year, think seriously about donating books. How about, besides The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy, donating The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Little House books, the Oz books, the Alice books? How about giving a child an alternate universe?
When you give a book, you give a world.