© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Kiegan Bowness of Stratford recently donated 200 of his books to the Book Bank in Charlottetown.
Ten-year-old Keigan Bowness of Stratford has been getting lost in books for half his life now.
He reads for pleasure at least 30 minutes each day, but if he really gets into a story, he will read on and on, often propped up on his bed by a large cushion with arm rests that ensure maximum reading comfort.
He has read all eight books in the series called Diary of a Wimpy Kid, making his way through the first seven in the collection three times each.
Keigan has enjoyed reading since the age of five because he “just gets caught up in the action.’’
Deanna, who starting reading to her son, Keigan, from the time he was a baby, was always a reader growing up — and still is.
“Books can take you anywhere,’’ she says. “I used to hide in a tree and read.’’
Deanna realized what a treasure trove her boy had compiled over the years after she read an article in The Guardian about a place called the Book Bank that was established in 2012 by the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance.
Deanna asked Keigan what he thought it would be like if his family couldn’t afford to buy books. Keigan thought about how much he loves to read and decided that if he could help out a fellow reader, he would.
co-ordinator Amanda Beazley says when Deanna called her about making a donation she was expecting a modest grocery bag of books.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see them arrive with a banana box that was overflowing,’’ says Beazley.
There were close to 200 books. Keigan was more than comfortable handing over such a good chunk of his home library.
“It’s a great feeling to know you helped at least 100 kids to read,’’ says Keigan, who adds that he finds it “very hard’’ to imagine not picking up a book.
“I definitely won’t stop reading.’’
Beazley was impressed by Keigan’s sincerity and generosity.
“They were his own books ... this is a collection he has had since he was a baby,’’ she says.
“Clearly books are really important to him. I think he’s a real lover of books and reading.’’
The Book Bank has been meeting a need since it was set up at the Food Bank in Charlottetown in February 2012 by the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance.
In the first 19 months of the program, Island children have taken home roughly 2,500 free books.
Since The Guardian ran a front-page article on the Book Bank on Raise-A-Reader Day on Sept. 25, more than 1,500 books have been donated.
Brenda Doiron of North Rustico even started a Book Bank last year at the North Rustico Co-op. People looking to donate children’s books to this book bank can contact Doiron at 218-5518.
Islanders are also encouraged to donate children’s books to keep the Book Bank shelves brimming at the Food Bank in Charlottetown.
Gently used children’s books can be dropped off at the P.E.I. Literacy Alliance in the Sherwood Business Centre at 161 St. Peters Rd. in Charlottetown.
In addition, people who have a nice load of children’s books they would like the alliance to pick up should give them a call at 368-1810.
Anyone who is interested in spearheading a book bank program in his or her community is encouraged to contact Beazley at 368-1810.