Bookshop appeals for Calais camp donations

Bookshop appeals for Calais camp donations

The Big Green Bookshop’s appeal for book donations for refugees in Calais has gone “through the roof” since yesterday (4th September) the bookshop has said.

The independent in London’s Wood Green is sending book donations to the so-called Jungle Books library set up by teacher Mary Jones at the refugee camp in Calais, nicknamed The Jungle.

She has said: “I wanted to start something that offered real, practical help. Many people here are well-educated — they want to get on and they want books that will help them read and write English, apply for jobs, fill-in forms.”

Jones is particularly looking for books in the native languages of the refugees, along with Pashto-French dictionaries, Pashto-English dictionaries, Eritrean dictionaries, books in native languages and short stories and poetry. The library also supports a school in the camp.

The Big Green Bookshop pledged to send books to the makeshift library and asked customers through its blog to “feel free to bring in any books you think might be useful.”

However, since the Syrian refugee crisis penetrated the public consciousness this week following extensive media coverage of the body of a young boy, Aylan Kurdi, who was fleeing Syria washed up on the coast of Turkey, the bookshop has been inundated with donations.

It has added a ‘donate’ button to its website which has already received £1,000 in donations from customers, which The Big Green Bookshop will use to buy and send books to Calais. Simon Key, co-owner of the indie, has also appealed for a book distributor or supplier to help get the books to the French migrant camp.

He said: “Author Caitlin Moran tweeted about it and since then we have been inundated with support. It has turned into something we never realized it would be. We need help with getting the books to the Jungle Book Library in Calais, if anyone is willing to help. We are also trying to find a venue we can store the donated books in until they are taken there.”

Yesterday, a group of authors led by Patrick Ness helped to raise over £100,000 in less than a day for Save the Children’s refugee appeal, after authors pledged to match donations from the public in units of £10,000. The site is still receiving donations.