15,000 Books in 30 days: How You Can Help Every Child Have a Gift to Open This Holiday Season

By Christina Lorey
October 26, 2022

Dane County’s third-annual Community Book Drive will make the holidays happier for thousands of kids. But they can’t do it without you.

Is there anything better than unwrapping a holiday gift with your name on it… especially as a kid? 

The Madison Reading Project will make that happen for thousands of Wisconsin kids this winter–including for some who’ve never experienced it before!

The non-profit is getting ready to kick off its third-annual Community Book Drive this November. 

What It Is

The Madison Reading Project will try to collect 15,000 books in 30 days: from November 10th to December 10th.

The event is a partnership with the Empty Stocking Club, a charity focused on giving every child at least one brand-new, high-quality toy at Christmas, regardless of their family’s financial situation. This year, the Madison Reading Project will make sure each toy is accompanied by a brand-new book.

The books are then distributed during the two weeks before public schools’ holiday break. 

Why It Matters

Having books in the home is the single-biggest indicator of children’s academic success. Unfortunately, two-thirds of kids from low-income households have never had a book of their own.

“Kids will read more if they are given the opportunity to select their own book that they want to read AND the book is given to them free of charge,” Madison Reading Project founder Rowan Childs explained.

“We know that kids, just like adults, judge a book by its cover, so we aim to put the best out there for them to select from.”

How to Help

Starting November 10th, people living in Dane County will find donation bins at dozens of coffee shops and community centers around the Madison area. Click here to find one near you. You can drop off one (or several) books at any of the sites.

Not sure what to buy? Click here for the Madison Reading Project book drive wishlist.

Don’t live nearby? You can also donate money: $5 covers one book; $20 is enough to buy books for four kids. Click here to give today!

Currently, the Madison Reading Project only serves Dane County’s children but recommends these programs to families in other parts of the state: 


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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