Mitch Album, author of works such as The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day and Tuesdays With Morrie, is on a mission to rebuild some of the Philippine libraries that were ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November.
Early this week, Albom visited Tacloban and quickly found himself emotionally invested in the Philippine citizens. Upon arriving, the author donated 40 boats to help fishermen in the region.
Most importantly, Albom says he was touched with the way literature is viewed in the Philippines.
“I have been here since early this past week and have seen 11-year-olds embracing paperback books like prized possessions,” Albom writes. “In fact, readers here cover their paperbacks in plastic to preserve them. In the U.S., we rarely bother to do that with hardbacks.”
“I’ve seen my own books pulled from the flood-damaged homes, mouldy, discoloured, yet brought to me to sign,” Albom said. “It’s incredible and heartwarming.”
Joining forces with the National Book Store Foundation, the largest book and stationery chain in the Philippines, Albom has pledged to raise $160,000, including his own contribution of $10,000 for the libraries. (Click here to read the heartwarming story of Mitch Albom meeting Socorro Ramos — the woman who started the National Book Store in 1942 despite Japanese soldiers censoring and banning publications in the Philippines during World War II.)
Earlier today, Albom posted the following picture and caption on his Facebook page:
I’m back in the U.S., but miss the Philippines already. What an amazing, loving, resilient country. My deepest thanks to my new Filipino friends – and thousands of readers. Rarely have I been as moved as by seeing the ravages of Typhoon Yolanda. It inspired me to launch “D.R.Y. Libraries” (Donated Reading for Youth) a campaign to raise $160K to rebuild and restock school libraries in the typhoon-affected areas. National Book Store is matching each dollar. Asked authors—like Jeff Kinney, JK Rowling, John Grisham, Stephen King and so many more—to donate their books and they have. If you’d like to support and see which of your fav authors have contributed, go to www.mitchalbomcharities.or
In addition to his generous donation and inspiring efforts, Albom has also pledged hundreds of copies of his own books to start filling the library bookshelves. He has asked other writers to join him and the following authors have already contributed their books directly to restock the libraries.
Roy Blount Jr.
Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)
National Book Store Foundation will match funds raised by Albom until the goal is met. Albom and the National Book Store Foundation said their goal is to begin construction on the first three libraries by late spring.