On February 22, an earthquake shook Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 65 people and burying hundreds more under rubble. Most of us saw the new stories, listened to the eye witness accounts and were shocked at the devastation. Maureen Johnson, whose book 13 Little Blue Envelopes was a 2006 Teens’ Top Ten pick, decided to do something about it.
Feeling lucky to be living in her nice, warm, New York City, apartment and not being burring under a pile of rubble, Johnson decided to challenge her twitter followers to raise money for a group called ShelterBox. The company, founded in 2000, deploys trained volunteers and boxes of survival supplies to areas hit by natural disasters. Their kits are tailored to the region to which they are sent, and the disaster that causes their need.
Johnson encouraged her followers to donate to ShelterBox and tweet their contribution with the hashtag #lastlittleshelterbox for a chance to win an ARC of The Last Little Blue Envelope, the upcoming sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Johnson’s goal was to fund one ShelterBox (approximately $950) by 8pm that day.
By the end of the day Johnson’s twitter followers had raised $6,000 and were still going strong and other authors had joined the fight, adding signed copies and ARCs to the prizes to give away. Fueled into a second day of fundraising, Johnson and her followers raised an amazing $15,202 for ShelterBox. However, never satisfied with just being awesome, Johnson went and did it again last week when another earthquake hit Japan, raising an astounding $14,202 for a total of $29,404 funding 29 ShelterBoxes in just a few short weeks!
Authors donating their work to be a part of a fundraiser is nothing new, the VLOG Brothers (comprised of Hank and John Green, author of 2006 Printz winner Looking for Alaska) have organized and encouraged charity projects to bring clean water to Bangladesh and life saving supplies to Haiti. The brothers also started the Project 4 Awesome, an annual YouTube event where users can post their own videos about charity projects they are passionate about. John and Hank encouraged their followers to favorite and comment on the videos raising them in popularity and therefore visibility on YouTube and raffled off prizes donated by other YouTube stars to participants.
These authors are harnessing the power of their popularity to change the world and teach their teenage fans about the power of giving. I know there are other authors out there who have used their influence for charity, please leave comments about authors who have been left out of this post.
Authors who have donated to Maureen Johnson’s drive for ShelterBox include (but are not limited to): Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Beth Revis, Kami Garcia and Margi Stohl, Mireya Mayo, Malinda Lo, Judy Blume, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Robin Wasserman, Lauren Conrad, Kiersten White, Ellen Hopkins, Jackson Pierce, Carrie Ryan, E. Lockhart, Ellen Booraem, Karen Healey, Jessica Day George, Christine Johnson, Julia Karr, Abby McDonald, Kate Messner, Melissa Walker, Anna Humphrey, Stacey Kade, Rachelle Delaney, Janet Fox, and Stephanie Perkins
-Kate Pickett, listening to The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness