Donate Books

The need for books

In South Africa we have an urgent need to develop a national culture of reading. Studies show that 78% of Grade 3 children cannot comprehend what they are reading.  In addition to looking critically at the educational model for teaching children to read, one of the biggest obstacles is the lack of books for all children.  

To fall in love with reading, children need access to books. Not just educational books, but books that stimulate their minds, entertain and delight them and stir their creativity and imagination. One of the easiest ways to help is to donate books or support a literacy organisation working at a grassroots level. 

Books in all languages

It’s essential to publish and distribute books in all the official languages. It’s also important for children to have books in English so that they can become fluent in English to enter the global workplace.  One way to accomplish this is to create libraries in schools and communities in need.  According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), 62% of South African primary schools do not have school libraries. Libraries are central to promoting a reading culture, as work in New Zealand shows.

Do you have books to donate?

Have your children outgrown their picture books or early readers? Donate them to your local library, school, children’s hospital or shelter.  Alternatively, donate your books to an organisation that will distribute them to schools and organisations in need. See the list in the box to the right.

Fund a library

Libraries are sacred places of learning, reading and reflection.  If you are inspired to start a library at your child’s school or sponsor one at a school or community centre in need, get in touch with The Bookery to find out how.  Help them create dynamic libraries that inspire a love of reading, break barriers and inspire lives.   Alternatively, we are involved in library projects in Johannesburg and Limpopo so get in touch with The Book Tree. 

Pictures: The Book Tree were proud to be involved in creating a library at Nuystasie Primary School in the Western Cape. 

Literacy Organisations

  • Nal’ ibali is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading. They have a list of organisations needing books.
  • The Link Literacy Project are based in Johannesburg and they run reading classes every week at selected schools. They require primary school books.
  • Shine Literacy are a children’s literacy organisation based in Cape Town and Durban and there are many ways you can get involved. T: +27 (0) 21 762 4320or email:
  • The Bookery are Cape Town-based but they open children’s libraries around the country. Contact them for more info on  +27 (0) 21 461 4189 or email:
  • African Storybook provides open access to picture storybooks in the languages of Africa, for children’s literacy, enjoyment and imagination.
  • National Library of South Africa –
  • Praesa Little Hands Trust promotes and supports the development of children’s literature in Africa. It is inspired by the understanding that the way to a child’s heart and mind is through a story.
  • Biblionef SA donate new books through your donations
  • help2read – This developmental organisation addresses child literacy by providing supplementary literacy tutoring in disadvantaged primary schools through a largely volunteer workforce.
  • The Family Literacy Project in KwaZulu Natal believes in family-based literacy projects.
  • Book Dash do wonderful work by creating children’s books in a day through volunteeers in the writing, graphic design, editing and illustration fields. Find out how you can get involved. 
  • Youth Potential South Africa (YOUPSA) share the love of reading in the rural Eastern Cape and establish youth-run Mobile Village Libraries & Reading Clubs. Children in this area have no access to books for reading for pleasure other than through YOUPSA. They’re looking for books in English, Afrikaans & isiXhosa.
Let us know if you are an organisation looking for or providing books for children to read and we’ll add you to this list. Email us at


International Book Giving Day

Since 2012, International Book Giving Day is celebrated on the 14th February in over 40 countries around the world, including South Africa.  The project is a volunteer-driven effort to increase children’s access to and enthusiasm for books and reading.

The idea is to donate children’s books to children, schools, hospitals and organisations in need.  Find out more here.


Do you want to help build a library?

We are looking for children’s book donations and metal stationery cupboards like the one below.  This provides shelves for the books and keeps them safe.  We need children’s books in good condition, non-denominational, and in any local language.  Please get in touch and let’s get books into the hands of children everywhere!


“Behind every children’s book is a vision of childhood: a shared understanding of what growing up is all about.”

Leonard Marcus, Author

Book Dash

Book Dash believes that every child should own one hundred books by the age of five. To that end, they gather creative professionals who volunteer to create new, African storybooks that anyone can freely translate, print and distribute. In this way, they vastly reduce the costs involved in putting high-quality books in children’s hands and hearts.

Find out how to get involved.

The Baobab Foundation

The Baobab Foundation provides pre-school support to young children in the Limpopo Province. Through our Book Tree Library programme we are working to provide starter libraries to the schools supported by the foundation.
Getting children to listen to, and visually engage with, books and stories at a young age is vital on the path to literacy. Education is the tool with which we will grow and enrich our people.

Make a donation.

Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you!

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