The Joy of Having Your Own Book

Created April 07, 2024 by Elizabeth Sparg

The pile of books-edit-3.png
South Africa

Towards the end of 2022, the SCBWI’s Impact and Legacy Fund granted $500 for books to go to the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town – an indication of just how well regarded internationally this wonderful hospital is.

SCBWI South Africa’s Regional Advisor, Elaine Ridge, liaised with the hospital and invested a lot of thought and energy sourcing a wonderful selection of books to be donated. Local South African publishers, Jacana, NB and New Africa all aided the initiative by offering us generous discounts on the purchases. The book shop Bargain Books was helpful too. They made some great book suggestions and offered some amazing buys – imagine 10 books by Julia Donaldson for R549! This extra help enabled the financial donation to be maximised to the full. On top of this, many of our talented members donated books they had written or illustrated and through this team work we managed to gather nearly 200 books for the hospital.


Before we took the books to the hospital, each one received a ‘donated by’ sticker. It took quite a while to get those stuck in! Then our illustrator coordinator, Emily House joined Elaine at the hospital where they were met by Pauline and Audrey from the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust. They piled all the books on a massive trolley and together set off to distribute the books to children waiting in the outpatients wards at the hospital.


Due to the overwhelming demand on Red Cross Children’s Hopsital, the outpatients often have extremely monotonous waits for their appointments – and this is usually after a very early start with long and challenging journey to reach the hospital beforehand. Needless to say, the books were definitely a most welcome distraction. There were many smiling faces and lots of ‘thank you’s received for the books. (Unfortunately, we don’t have these captured in pictures as we needed to protect the children’s identities.) The majority of the books were distributed to the outpatients on the day but the books for older children have been reserved for the book corner at the Oncology department and for gifts for inpatients when they are discharged from hospital.


Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this initiative. We know each child who received a book was delighted.

The pile of books

Elaine preparing the books

Pauline from Red Cross Children's Hospital (left) with Emily & Elaine from SCBWI South Africa