Word on the street

Geraldine Grandidier on how a simple book drop can change a child’s life

Tidy Books bookcase

Tidy Books bookcase

I can still remember my first experience of being read to as a child. It was at school, when I was five or six, and the book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Instantly, I was hooked. To me, the idea that you could be transported somewhere different, where weird and wonderful things happened, was just extraordinary.

At the time my family was living in the New Hebrides – now known as Vanuatu – and when they moved to France when I was eight I tried, unsuccessfully, to find the book. It wasn’t until I came to England aged 23 that I was finally reunited with Charlie. It felt like meeting an old friend again.

I get so much joy from books that I’m proud my company, Tidy Books, can help promote reading. On the first Friday of each month, we host the E17 Kid’s Book Drop. We have a collection box in our Walthamstow office where local people can donate pre-loved children’s books.

The books are sent off to a charity, Give A Book, which distributes them to breakfast clubs and school book clubs around London, to help more kids get into reading.

I started my business making children’s bookcases from my Walthamstow violin workshop with a £500 investment. I’m a violin maker by trade, and back in 2004, I was looking for a bookcase for my daughter Adele. I wanted a bookcase that showed books with the front covers facing outwards, so she could pick them out by herself . It was a simple concept, but one which changed the way books are presented in the home. I put a small advert in a parenting magazine and found I couldn’t make bookcases fast enough. I went from bespoke violins to large-scale production.

When I started Tidy Books, my ambition was always to make a difference to children’s lives. That’s why, as well as hosting the E17 Kid’s Book Drops, Tidy Books has an ongoing commitment to donate a percentage of online profits to the national literacy charity Beanstalk.

Beanstalk places volunteers to read one-to-one with children who have fallen behind with their reading. I know that Walthamstow’s fantastic community spirit will make the E17 Kid’s Book Drop a success. It’s a simple idea that can make a big impact. If Walthamstow people can give a pre-owned kid’s book, that’s in good condition, then we can help Give A Book multiply the magic of a good book.

Book drops are held on the first Friday of the month, 10am-5pm, at 10 Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow E17 4QP. The next donation day is Friday 4th November. For more information:

Visit tidy-books.co.uk

Visit giveabook.org.uk