Today I visited one of Lewisham’s Micro Libraries, the one just off of Wickham Road. This phone box only stocks children’s books and whilst some of the books are a bit tired, you have to admire the project which was original founded by Sebastian Handley. He selflessly bought a telephone box for £1 from the British Telecom and then spent £500 of his own money renovating it for the community to enjoy. What a legend this man is! This kind gesture has now become a trend and you may spot a book or two in the next phone box you walk passed.
In 2015 Sebastian was named on The Independent Sunday Happy list, he was one of 100 people listed for making Britain a happier place to live in. An extract from The Independent is here:
‘This artist created the capital’s smallest library inside a disused red phone box in Lewisham, south London. He spent £500 of his own money on ceiling lights, carpet and seven shelves. It houses over 200 books, with a whole shelf dedicated to children’s literature, and is looked after by two librarians.’
The project is reliant on people’s honesty and generosity. If you take a book, you are expected to return it or replace it with a book you no longer want. Today I borrowed ‘A colour of his own’ By Leo Leonni. I promise I will return it!!!
The child in me was originally drawn to the book because of its beautiful illustrations but on closer inspection, I was able to correlate the message of ‘A colour of his own’ to my book. Many of us can draw from childhood experiences of feeling alone and from my experience this stemmed from being different. The main character is a chameleon that constantly changes colour due to his environment or the seasons. For instance, he will find a green leaf and camouflage into the shade of green and feel content. Then autumn will come and he will have to change, this continuous changing makes him feel he has no one, that he does not belong, a nomad. The story eloquently educates children that we are all different and how friendship (togetherness) can eliminate this loneliness. The story is telling us that despite the chameleon continuously changing colour, he himself is the same on the inside.I felt very inspired reading the story, it is simple but the message is powerful and this is what I loved about it.
I’m looking forward to returning to replace ‘A colour of his own’ with something else at The Book Exchange.