{If I Could Change the World}

Guys Lit Wire is a book blog site aimed at providing suggestions and guidance to guys looking for good books – and help for their parents, teachers, advisers, et cetera. I have the privilege to be peripherally involved with this group.

Last year, our successful Book Fair For Boys netted an astonishing 600+ books for the LA County Detention Center in just two weeks. This year, our book drive turns another direction – to two reservation schools: Ojo Encino Day School in the Navajo Nation, and Alchesay High School, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Both schools have tons of willing readers and both schools have substandard libraries and rarely to never get brand new books.

And there’s your opportunity:

GLW and our partner, readergirlz, asked these two schools for a wishlist, and came up with an amazing amount of nonfiction requests, sports novel requests, and of course, fantasy — because vampires cross every culture and nation. (!!!) It’s been an experience for Colleen (GLW) to create these wishlists. It made me ache to hear of the trouble she had contacting the school — she didn’t get a lot of responses to her emails at first because the people at the schools didn’t believe she was serious.

Free books? SERIOUSLY?

And then, the excitement, when the students realized that a wishlist means you can ask for anything you want.

“Books are still gold. The emails I have received in the past week or so from Alchesay as the kids realized they could ask for books to come their way have been great. And with their internet hookup (more reliable than Ojo Encino) they are going to check their wish list everyday to see what is coming. They are so excited – both schools are so incredibly excited. Yes, the ipad and kindle and whatever else are all wonderful and good but these are kids who do not own a book.

Think about that. Not one single book.”

– book drive organizer, Colleen Mondor, at Chasing Ray

If you’ve ever played with an old-fashioned Roberval Balance Scale in science lab, you know that even moving a few grains of sand, or a single weight from one pan to the other will make a change. A few inexpensive books — the cumulative price of making coffee at home for two weeks, or walking the few blocks to the library instead of driving — would be a huge step toward changing the world for these kids. I’m still so astounded by the power of story — the luxury of a book is that it is an inexpensive way to get away from where you are, and choose someplace else to be, whether through educating yourself away from where you are, or just briefly escaping. This is the gift you have the power to give, and even one book will make a difference.

Interested in shifting a few grains of sand? Here’s how, via Colleen:

First, hit the Powell’s site and on the upper right click on “wish list”. From there you will be prompted for the email address of the list owner. Type in “guyslitwire@gmail.com”. You will then be given the choice to select either Ojo Encino or Alchesay. Once you are looking at the lists (which contain hundreds of titles) you can make your selection of a new, used, or sale copy. After your done and ready to make your purchase you will be asked to confirm that you are buying books for a certain wish list. Checking those boxes will keep the lists up to date and prevent books from appearing as unsold even after they were purchased. Now all you have to do is enter the mailing addresses, and here they are:

Mary Nickless
Ojo Encino Day School Librarian
HCR 79 Box 7
Cuba, NM 87013

Marilyn Hill
Alchesay High School
200 Falcon Way
Whiteriver, AZ 85941

CAUTION: Right now Powell’s is having trouble shifting from one wish list to the next. So if you want to buy for each school then go all the way through one order and complete it and then start the next one fresh. I’ve sent an email and hopefully they will get this fixed quick.

Please leave a comment at GLW or send an email so Colleen can keep up a running tally during the two weeks of names and places where the book buyers are from. This will allow the students to see how far away we might be from them, but how close in heart, and will hopefully make them feel really special.

And please — repost this, and broadcast widely. We have two weeks to change a little corner of the world. No time to lose!

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