Friends of Doorstep Library

Over a decade of Doorstep Library!

We are proud to say that we have been fighting inequality in education since 2010, introducing the magic and benefits of reading to children in disadvantaged areas of London. In the last ten years, we have lent over 110,000 books, to over 1600 children and 670 families.

The pandemic has been hugely detrimental to children’s development, massively increasing inequality in educational attainment.  To help bridge that gap we launched our #WhereDoWordsTakeYOU? campaign – asking people everywhere to think about the journeys that books and reading take them on.

Here we share quotes from some of our wonderful friends and supporters – we do hope these words inspire you to pick up and book and go on your own journeys.

Author of the ‘Noughts and Crosses’ series

Words take me anywhere and everywhere I want to go, sometimes to places I didn’t know existed.  Words stretch my mind with thoughts enough to build bridges between vast worlds.  Words are friends that lift me up and take me to places of wonder and hope.  Words take me home.

Photograph © Paul Akinrinlola

Lord Mayor of Westminster

Even from an early age, reading opened up new vistas for me. It allowed me to imagine the unimaginable, delve into other worlds, and it was great fun as you always wanted to find out what happens next in a story. And the really great thing about books? You can take them absolutely anywhere – a whole world in your pocket, wherever you go!

Children's Author

Reading is magic … and magic is for everyone. Words can take you anywhere and everywhere – the highest mountains, the darkest forests, back in time, inside someone else’s heart – and that is absolutely a magical power.

Author of Cleopatra and Frankenstein

Words take me simultaneously on an escape from and an excavation into self. With a book, I can travel through time and across the world, hear others’ secret thoughts, and live a thousand different lives in one. I love being able to disappear inside a character whenever I want. When I write, I am often getting to know myself more deeply.  Frequently I don’t know how I’m feeling or what I’m really thinking about until I write. If reading is a form of travel, writing is the return home. The most magical part of both reading and writing, for me, is how it reminds me that no matter what I’m feeling, I’m not alone.

Photograph © Ryan Pfluger

Author of the ‘Seriously Silly Stories’

My childhood wasn’t easy. My dad had been badly affected by his wartime experiences and I was often anxious at school. I felt different from other kids and struggled with my schoolwork. But luckily I knew how to escape… I would go to the library and spend a long time searching for exactly the right book. When I found that book I would know. It was as if that book had been waiting especially for me. Waiting to invite me inside. I would find a quiet corner and when I opened the cover, it felt like opening a door into another world, inhabited by extraordinary people. Books were my escape hatch. Books were my education. Books were my lifeline.

Later, when I left school, I discovered that being different is a strength not a weakness. As I grew in confidence, I discovered my abilities as a writer and an artist, and it seemed natural to create my own books.
Guess what? There’s a book out there waiting especially for you. All you have to do is find it. All you have to do is open the cover and step inside. Books make us wiser, kinder, funnier and happier.
Words are wings, so fly away.

Children's Author Chris Naylor Ballesteros
Children's Author

“Words take me AGES to write sometimes, even though there aren’t that many of them in a picture book. But once you get the right ones, in roughly the right order and with more or less all the right letters, reading them is great.

They pick you up like a magic library bus but with pages instead of seats and ink instead of wheels (or something like that), and drop you off somewhere else, maybe somewhere exciting, amazing or weird. Then they’ll pop by to take you somewhere else.  Or maybe back home for a bit of a rest – visiting fantasy worlds can be tiring.”

Nihal Arthanayake
BBC Radio Presenter

Words take me to a mythical African Kingdom where a girl is made of smoke and a boy has a giraffe’s legs, a Scottish childhood that is surrounded by pain and joy. Words take me to the party of the year in Malibu, a terrified mother with a new baby, a mermaid kidnapped from the sea, and to 10 minutes and 38 seconds in this strange world.

Author of ‘A Pinch of Magic’

I LOVE stories. Words have whisked me on so many adventures, whether it was a story told by my big sisters, an audiobook, or a real book made out of paper and ink.
Words have taken me on moonlit broomstick rides, through secret passages, into shark-infested waters and even travelling back in time.
There’s nowhere words can’t take you! Words are MAGIC.

Author of the ‘Dixie O’Day’ series

Words take me out of my head into a world where anything is possible. If I looked out of the window and saw two dogs drive past in a red sports car, heading to the beach, I’d be very surprised. But if I opened a book to find them right there on the page, I’d think to myself – but of course! Why ever not? I wonder what ice creams they will choose when they get there…

When I’m writing a story it’s slightly different. Words take me right INTO my head. I am looking for how I feel, what I care about, what makes me laugh, the little things I have noticed and remembered.
And that’s what so exciting about Doorstep Library: in helping a generation of readers they are also creating a whole new world of storytellers. It’s their stories I want to hear most!

Film/TV Director

Books have always been my cosy place where I can fully relax and get lost in a story.
It’s also a way I get to live in someone else’s skin for a bit, see the world through different eyes. Books are wonderful ways of generating empathy. I am able to understand others joy, fear, hopes and dreams more deeply and it makes me feel like a more enriched person.

AM, Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare

I love reading. As a child reading books transported me to different worlds and different places – it fired my imagination and opened my mind to new ideas and new perspectives. I am always reading, both for my job and for pleasure. Language is important as it’s how we connect and understand each other.

Reading with my own children was a joy, a quiet time away from the bustle of daily life, looking at pictures and words, discovering new characters and stories. I saw how reading together developed their language and listening skills and helped them become independent learners. Above all, reading is fun!

Author of the ‘Violet’ series

Words take me on a magic carpet ride through the back of wardrobes and down rabbit holes, across the Misty Mountains and past the second star to the right, and straight on till morning.

Chairman of Oscar’s Book Prize

Reading is my life just as much as writing. I wade through words every day and then relax with more of them at night. Reading is also an expression of love that takes me back to turning pages with my grandma. Through Oscar’s Book Prize we want to encourage every parent, grandparent and carer to find the time for that same shared experience.

Ben Brooks
Author of Stories for ‘Boys Who Dare to Be Different’

Again and again, I learn about people whose lives have been shaped by the books they read as children. This can happen in so many ways. Passions are sparked, confidence is found, role models are discovered, ideas are born. When we’re young, books multiply the size and scope of our worlds immeasurably. At least I know that’s what they did for me. Sitting up at night reading about polar expeditions, wizards, and medieval food, set me on the course to becoming not just someone who loves books, but someone who is curious, open, and capable of imagining themselves in the shoes of others.

That’s why I think the work of Doorstep Library has so much power. When you bring books into a young person’s life, you let them know they can write their story.

Michael Frayn
Playwright/ Author of ‘Noises Off’

Reading is like being given plane tickets to see all the places and people in the world that you want to see.  Plus a million more that you didn’t even know about.  And some that you remember you did kind of half-glimpse once, and lost, and are so happy to have found again.

Claire Tomalin
Journalist/ Author of ‘A Life of My Own’

Reading a book can be time travel – what did people eat for lunch 200 years ago?  What did they wear in bed?  Or space travel –  to the jungle, to the desert, to the arctic. Forget yourself and go on a great journey through a book.