United Way of Central Iowa’s holiday wish: To share more about the tale of two holidays for the kids who live here. One where the season is full of joy and excitement – with fun traditions of playing games, eating warm healthy meals, unwrapping special gifts, and being surrounded by a loving family who read books with them. The other where sitting by a warm fire in a safe home with parents who are able to buy toys and books is only a dream.

It’s one of the many reasons why we are so honored to be selected as one of three organizations receiving donations from the Barnes & Noble 2023 Holiday Book Drive running November 1 through December 8, 2023.

United Way of Central Iowa invites you to share the gift of children’s books with those who may not have a personal library of their own – because every child in central Iowa should have access to age-appropriate, high-quality, new books.

Books in the home make a difference beyond literacy. For children, being surrounded by books where they live helps build vocabulary, increase awareness and comprehension, and expand horizons – all benefiting them well into adulthood. There is a correlation between homes full of books and both the "ability to use mathematical concepts in everyday life" and "the ability to use digital technology to communicate with others." Books have profound and long-lasting benefits.

Follow these 3 easy steps to donate to the 2023 Holiday Book Drive with Barnes & Noble:

  1. Review the Holiday Book Drive Wish List to consider which books you would like to donate.
  2. Go to the Barnes & Noble store at 4550 University Ave, West Des Moines and purchase the children’s books of your choice to donate.
  3. When checking out, tell the cashier your intention to donate the books to United Way of Central Iowa, and they will take them to storage. Make sure you specify your gift is for United Way, as our organization is one of three options for the 2023 Holiday Book Drive.

Where are the Donated Books Going?

Last year, 22 boxes of new books were sorted, boxed, and picked up by several nonprofit partners serving children in our community.

Please keep in mind, this holiday book drive is only for books purchased at the University Ave. Barnes & Noble store. We are not accepting additional book donations at this time. 

Shopping Tips

Whether you’re shopping from United Way’s Book Wish List or want to purchase a holiday favorite, here are a few creative ways to spice up your holiday shopping at Barnes & Noble:

  • Check out the Holiday Book Drive Wish List and use it not only to purchase books to donate to United Way, but also to buy books as gifts for the children in your life during the holiday season – or whenever you need a great gift idea!

Holiday Book Drive Wish List

  • Choose books celebrating diversity and inclusion, and promoting understanding, acceptance, and respect for all ethnicities, cultures, races, and disabilities.

Volunteer to Read with Children in Our Community

Want to keep making an impactful difference? Sign up to be a Book Buddy! When you take a short amount of time every week to read with one to two kids at a childcare facility each week, you foster a life-long love of learning for your little buddy. You also have a powerful influence on their Education Success.

Hundreds of kids are in need of people like you. Be a Book Buddy and experience the influence your care and time can have on the life of a young child. Please sign up today!

I Want to Be a Book Buddy

Topics: Early Childhood Success, Education Success, holidays

Cheryl Werner

Written by Cheryl Werner

Cheryl Werner is the Community Impact Coordinator for United Way of Central Iowa.