Target Who Books Donated to Schools: 9673
Inspired Donations by Other People: 416

email: Twitter:

Donating 11,000 Books to School Libraries to support Children's Literacy

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Imagination - The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

We are Target Who and we think imagination is the most powerful force in the Universe.  Every single thing that mankind has created in its entire history started life as an idea in someone’s head.  Sometimes that idea saw fruition by the efforts of the individual.  Sometimes it was developed by a team.  Some ideas are contagious and have inspired the imagination of others.  Imagination can breed the most wonderful things.

Doctor Who may seem trivial in the scale of human invention but it is an idea that has spread, fired up the imagination of millions worldwide and inspired them in so many positive ways.  It too started as an idea in the head of one individual that was taken and worked on by a small team of talented others to become a national institution. That individual was Canadian born Sidney Newman and here at Target Who we wanted to honour the man who first dreamt up the idea of a mysterious Doctor travelling in Time and Space across our television screens on Saturday teatimes. 

So while the majority of us have been here in the UK delivering books up and down the country, our man in Canada, Hugh Pearson, has been researching and contacting the childhood schools of the ‘father’ of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman.

Sydney Newman was born in Toronto and studied at Ogden Public School until the age of 13.  Ogden is a small inner city school near Chinatown with a very diverse ethnic student population - for some of them, English may not be their first language or the language mainly used at home.  The school was thrilled to receive the books and made a real school event of celebrating the show’s 50th Anniversary.   

They decorated the main office door as a TARDIS, made a "Who Knew" info sheet, and on Friday 22nd November held a pizza day where a UK born teacher, who had seen the original episode live, sat down and watched An Unearthly Child with the students.

After leaving Ogden Public School, Sydney attended Central Technical College studying art and design subjects.  Hugh contacted the principal and he too was delighted to receive a small bundle of our books honouring one of their notable alumni.

We are Target Who and Sydney Newman’s idea inspired us.  It inspired us to read and that unleashed our imaginations.  It inspired us as people to give our help freely wherever it is needed and it inspired us to buy 14,000 books and give them all away for free to support children’s literacy.

We hope our project inspires you too - Please buy a book; donate it; tell us where.

Friday, 22 November 2013

What’s in it for Me?

We are Target Who and we have been patiently keeping secrets waiting for the Anniversary weekend to arrive.  The wonderful events of 1st June 2013 will remain in my memory forever.  For most of you it’s the date the news broke that Matt Smith was hanging up his bowtie and the search had started for an actor to replace him.  For me something more memorable happened, it was the day I met Katy Manning and told her all about Target Who.

Katy had been touring the UK performing in ‘A Murder is Announced’ and I contacted her while she was appearing at Malvern Theatre.  She kindly agreed to meet me after the matinee performance on her final day, but warned she wouldn’t have long.  “I have to rush off and collect my suitcase as I’m leaving tonight straight after the evening show.”

I met Katy at the stage door.  “Can we walk and talk?” she asked; of course and we set off through the town.  I told her about the books; where they had been, what had happened to them and how thirty of us had come together to secure their purchase.  Then I told her how we were giving them away free to school libraries wherever we can reach.  This stopped her in her tracks and she started looking around.  “Can we go for a cup of tea? Do you have time?”
And so, I found myself sat in a cafĂ© in Malvern town centre drinking tea with Katy Manning.  I read her the blog entry I’d posted that morning, We Aspire to Inspire, where I’d called on other fans to support what we are doing by donating a single book to their local school.  Then Katy said the words I’ll remember forever:

“You’re not like other fans.  For them the 50th is about ‘What’s in it for me? - Is my Doctor returning?’ You’re turning it on its head and saying what can we do for someone else?  How wonderful.”

I hadn’t thought about it like that, but she was right.  Doctor Who is the most magical series; it reaches out to children and inspires them in so many ways.  I had sat as a dyslexic child at the bottom of the class in Literacy and Target Doctor Who books changed my life.  They hooked me on reading and my work flourished, eventually leading to a degree.  I’ve heard similar stories from many other fans since starting this project.  Our project is about using this wonderful series to inspire a generation of children to fall in love with reading, which will improve their lives in so many ways.
Katy with some of the books we are donating to schools featuring the character she portrayed
 We were interrupted by a small shy girl staring at Katy from next to our table.  Katy transferred her attention briefly and I was privileged to witness just how wonderful Katy is too. The delighted child left and Katy had an idea

“Can I send you a book?  It won’t be a Doctor Who book, but one I know a child will love reading?  Can I do that?  Would that be alright?”

So that’s how Katy Manning became a part of Target Who, doing the very thing we are asking of other fans. There was just time for a few photographs then as she turned to leave I told her that we had already received some inspired donations from her adopted part of the world.  I told her of Donald Bain in Tasmania and Joanne in Sydney, and off she went with the broadest of smiles. 

She sent me two books - An illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and a copy of War Horse along with the following note:

Imagination, one of the greatest and most creative parts of our complex brain, it is limitless. Perhaps the best way to exercise and encourage this fathomless gift is by reading.  Books can fill us with knowledge, facts and the beauty of words by constantly adding to our vocabulary allowing us to create unique pictures in our minds.

Children want to read, but alas, are not always supported in their natural desire.  
With festoons of fabulousness at our fingertips teachers and, especially, parents can enthuse children into this magical world of words.

We’ve found good homes for both of Katy’s donations and our inspired counter has increased to 321.  Will it get higher?  I honestly don’t know.  There are thousands of Doctor Who fans out there, but I’m not sure how many of us are “not like other fans.”  Most, it seems, are only interested in Doctor Who where there is “something in it for me.”  However there are a few of you; the inspired counter shows that.  You are the cream of fandom whose love of the series transcends personal gain.

We are Target Who.  We are few.  There is NOTHING in it for us.  Show how wonderful YOU are by donating a single book to your nearest school and tell us where.  We hope to hear from you.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fish Fingers, Custard and Kiwi’s

We are Target Who and friends and family have played a big part in sending our books long distances.

Over in New Zealand my friends Steve and Louise Roebuck had been following the adventure of Target Who via my Facebook statuses.  This summer they came back to the UK for a visit and were only too pleased to take books back with them and find two worthy schools to donate them too.

David Dovey, Louise Roebuck, Emma Dovey, Steve Roebuck
The first set went to St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Takapuna and we are grateful to the Moss family for delivering them to the school for us.  I love how they wear hats as part of their school uniform - The Eleventh Doctor would be impressed!

Orla, Aoife and Leo Moss
The Second set was donated to Puketapu School in Hawkes Bay.  Louise told us:
“It is one of the oldest schools in Hawkes Bay, established in 1864 and have just recently had a brand new library built so they were very pleased with the donation of books.”
The excited pupils of Puketapu School
Then we heard off Kamo Intermediate School.  One of their teachers had spotted mention of Target Who over Facebook thanks to Andrew’s Cousin, Christina Ledger.  As Christina was about to travel over to New Zealand she happily took a set with her and delivered it to them along with some fish fingers and custard to celebrate!

Holly Edmeades about to enjoy some sigh fingers and custard!
 We heard back from Kamo that told us:

“Thought you might like to see how we enjoy Fish Fingers and Custard in New Zealand. A HUGE thank you from Kamo Intermediate School pupils for the books you sent around the world with the wonderful Christina. We hope you enjoyed your day at the beach Christina, and thank you sooooo much for bringing the culinary treat!”

We are Target Who and our books are delighting children half a world away.

Target Who would like to thank Stephen Roebuck, Louise Roebuck, Orla Moss, Aoife Moss, Leo Moss and Christina Ledger