Young Writers – how to read, write and publish sustainably

Contributed by Luke Chapman

Digital marketer and writer

Fri 8 Apr 2022

Young Writers started in 1991 out of a love of reading and writing. Since then, we’ve put our hearts into empowering avid young writers by giving them a platform to develop their writing skills, publish their work and share the message that anyone can make a change in the world.

One of Young Writers’ core goals is to make literature and writing accessible to everyone. We run writing competitions for schools or for budding writers to enter independently, and these are free to enter for any child aged between five and 18 in the UK. We also invite children aged between three and five to join seasonal competitions.

We host a range of writing and teaching resources on our website that is free to download.

Books2All: Young Writers – how to read, write and publish sustainably
Young Writers’ wall of fame

It probably goes without saying that the people at Young Writers are HUGE book fans. Our team is staffed with book lovers, our editors are total word nerds, and we’ve even got a book swap place in the office.

Books2All: Young Writers – how to read, write and publish sustainably
The Young Writers team

Paper, paper and more paper! Books are full of it, which is why we love them. The attractive cover, turning over the crisp pages, that new book smell, the feeling of being carried away in your imagination, and even the anticipation when you walk into a bookshop. We treasure these things about owning a copy of our favourite books.

Why? Because words are one of the most powerful tools that we possess. Whether in the important conversations we have with loved ones, in performance poetry, or on the pages of a novel, words shape our future. We need books, but we must produce them sustainably.

Books have a great impact on us, but they also impact the planet. Young Writers believes that ensuring everyone has access to books and sharing our love for them is a powerful way to lift us and build a better future. For us, this belief goes hand-in-hand with the much-needed shift towards living sustainably. A ‘green education’ is achieved by promoting sustainability in the publishing world, both in the words used and how books are published.

So, a while back, we researched and created a list of how we can all read more sustainably. Here are some tips on how we can be all be more mindful of our reading material and its impact on the wider world:

Young Writers tip 1: buy second hand

Have you ever found the perfect piece of vintage clothing or long-lost vinyl record in a charity shop? You can also get that wonderful nostalgic feeling from finding book gems there! Most charity shops have bookshelves full of books waiting to be re-read and re-homed. Head down there and grab yourself a bargain, and you’ll be helping the planet too.

Young Writers tip 2: think about your reading ‘costs’

Producing e-book devices uses energy and creates waste; therefore, buying one instead of paperbacks is only a more sustainable way to read if you use it enough to outweigh its manufacturing costs. If you read on your tablet or your smartphone, you will hardly impact your carbon footprint! Audiobooks are also a great way to enjoy books; take your favourite author on a jog, on the school run, or even on the grocery shop!

Young Writers tip 3: share your books

Instead of clogging up your bookshelves further when you finish your book, think about how someone else could also benefit from what you have just read. Donate good-quality children’s books and textbooks to Books2All, take no longer wanted adult fiction to a local charity shop, give them to a friend, or find an online or neighbourhood book swap group.

Young Writers tip 4: scribble sustainably

Booklovers often love writing paraphernalia too. Enjoy your pens and pencils but try and buy from sustainable suppliers. There are many options, from pens made of bamboo or recycled material to pencils containing a seed rather than an eraser at the end!

Books2All: Young Writers – how to read, write and publish sustainably

Young Writers tip 5: join a library

You can’t be a fan of Books2All and not know how important this is. But here is a reminder just in case: the ultimate way to be a green reader is to use your local library and school library (if you are lucky enough to have one). Brimming with books and many other resources, libraries are cost-effective because most reading materials can be borrowed for free once you are a library member or at least available to use while you are in the library.

Once you’re finished, simply return the borrowed items in good condition for the next person. Library users share the love of books on a huge scale. You’re likely to find out-of-print titles, and other rare finds too!

Young Writers tip 6: choose your words carefully

Finding sustainable ways to read is worthwhile, but what about the words themselves? One of the best ways to be a green-friendly reader is to… read! Read books to educate you on climate change and living sustainably. Reading increases knowledge, and information spreads.

Sharing the eco-message with children is massively important too and there are authors who do so in a fun and engaging way. Incredible writers like Sally Gardner, Piers Torday and Hannah Gold create phenomenal stories centred around making a difference, showing children how to be what the world needs.

At Young Writers, we practice what we preach

Reading sustainably is something we encourage, but we try and do our best too! As a publisher, we have a huge responsibility to protect our world both in the content and in the way we publish. In 2020, we used over 40 million sheets of FSC approved paper – that’s enough to get you all the way to the moon! And we use all the tools at our disposal to spread awareness of these important messages.

We recently worked with a new publisher, Ivy Kids, to promote its fully recycled and eco-conscious books. We use the Young Writers’ social media channels to encourage green thinking. We interview like-minded authors. We also use our blog to raise awareness of climate issues, inspire young minds and encourage them to start making a change. We even turned our branding green to promote Global Recycling Day!

Books2All: Young Writers – how to read, write and publish sustainably
An Ivy Kids book bundle

By encouraging creativity, passion, drive and free-thinking, we want young people to make a change, be powerful and believe in themselves. When they are selected to be published by Young Writers, these young minds have shown themselves capable of anything. Their words will remain forever in the British Library – a testament that their words mean the world.

Thank you for visiting our blog. Our vision here at Books2All is a world where every child finds the books that help them reach their true potential. If you have spare books in good condition at home that you think might be appropriate for school children or represent a school and would like to register to receive donated books, please download the Books2All app from the App Store or Google Play

Inset photo of pencil courtesy of freepix –
Photo of Luke Chapman courtesy of Nikodejaun

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