Alexander McCall Smith supports book project for children

SCOTS author Alexander McCall Smith, famous for The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, has given his support to an initiative to provide books for disadvantaged children at Christmas.

Author Alexander McCall Smith. Picture: Jon Savage
Author Alexander McCall Smith. Picture: Jon Savage

McCall Smith visited Blackwell’s Bookshop at South Bridge in Edinburgh to support the bookseller’s 2016 Giving Tree.

Blackwell’s works with local charities to hang ‘book wishes’ on the tree for local disadvantaged children. Customers then have the option of taking a tag off the tree and buying the book for the child who has requested it.

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The charities involved this year are The Sick Kids Friends Foundation, CHAS - the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland - Edinburgh Women’s Aid, Edinburgh Young Carers, Citadel Youth Centre and some additional City of Edinburgh Council Care Homes.

Now in its ninth year, Blackwell’s Christmas Giving Tree has fulfilled an estimated 2,000 wishes have been fulfilled since it began, with more than 400 books distributed last year alone.

Children are contacted by the participating charities and invited to make a request. Sometimes this might be a specific book, or sometimes something from a particular author or genre.

In some cases, the choice is left to the person buying the book. The requests made are written on gift tags and placed on the Christmas Giving Tree on display in the bookshop.

Customers choose a gift tag from the tree and purchase the book to be passed onto the child. The children remain anonymous, though the tags do include the child’s age and gender.

Shoppers can also take part by contacting the shop by telephone on 0131 622 8222 or by email to [email protected]