Think back to your favorite book from your childhood...the one you asked your parents to read over and over. Do you remember that book? Is that a book you might one day want to pass on to your children?
If that book was printed before 1985 and is out of print it may soon be hard to find because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The CPSIA, among other things, set new regulations for the lead content in children's products, including children's books. Some books printed before 1985 use inks, dyes, and paints that contain lead pigments--so unless thrift stores and used booksellers want to test their volumns for lead, they risk hefty fines for offering them for sale. In response, many thrift stores and some libraries are tossing or storing away all books printed before 1985. And, while the law does exempt vintage books sold to collectors, the wording is specific in that these books would be exempt only because no child would be expected to handle them due to their age and value . Thrift stores and used books stores can't logically say that they are selling a collectors item and still sell it for $1 in the children's section. Libraries also can't make that claim.
Now, I'm a mom of three little boys, one still in the book chewing stage. So yes, I am concerned about my children being exposed to lead. But I have yet to read of evidence of even one child being harmed by lead in printing inks in the 23+ years these books have been in print. I think with that in mind the risk is not worth depriving children (espcially those past the book eating age) of the many books published during our childhoods and earlier, nor is it worth robbing our cultural heritage of many beautiful and wonderful children's books published during that time period.
Which brings me to my giveaway (open through Mar 16).
I stumbled on the Book Giveaway Carnival at
Book Room Reviews, and knew right away I wanted to participate. I thought about giving a pre-1985 children's book, but I'm not willing to part any I have right now (especially since my children are still enjoying them). But there are still many thrift stores and used book shops who are either ignorant of or choosing to ignore the law, as well of hundreds of thousands of people who have never heard of it and are right now selling their old kids books in yard sales across America. So I'm giving away $5 to one winner to go rescue some of these while they can still be had. $5 isn't a lot, but at a thrift store or garage sale you might be able to get 5-20 kids books for that amount (I've certainly found kids books for a quarter before).
TO ENTER, leave a comment below telling your favorite childhood book (make sure to include an e-mail to contact you). Scroll down for ways to earn extra entries. Entries will be taken until March 16. The winner will be chosen through a random number generator on March 17 (after Spring Break...sorry, I had to have it later because of that). While the winner won't be required to come back and share what great books they find, I hope they will!
I encourage everyone to write your senators and representatives about the CPSIA, to blog about it, and to e-mail your friends about it.
Here are some of the best articles articles and blogs I've found on this issue:
The New Book Banning
Very complete article on City Journal about this subject -- a good read if you have never heard of the CPSIA before, as it overviews the whole legislation in addition to going over it's affects on children's books.
Librarians fight to get children's books exempted from new lead rules
Very good article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram
CPSIA and Vintage Books
An excellent overview at Overlawyered on how the CPSIA is affecting Children's books in thrift shops and used book store
Overlawyered's Ongoing Blog Entries On CPSIA and Books
This link will show all new blog entries on the topic of the CPSIA and books at Overlawyered
Amend the CPSIA Law and Still Protect Children
A very good article at the blog Let a Woman Learn.
If you like side-bar graphics on your blog/website, you're welcome to use the following button to link to any of the above articles, this post, or your favorite article on the subject (your own included). You may even offer this button on your own site for others to use (but if you do, please don't remote link--save it to your own server please).
Here are some blogging ideas:
*Have some pre-1985 children's books in your house? Take some pictures of them and post them on your blog to show some of the great books that may be lost.
*Visit your local thrift store or library. Are they still selling/distributing pre-1985 books? Blog about what you find!
*Review your pre-1985 favorite children's stories, and share with others how these books may become rare or expensive because of the law.
Please leave a separate comment for each of these you do. Each is good for one extra entry.
1. Blog about the CPSIA or this giveaway and then come back here and share the URL to your blog post in a comment.
2. E-mail your friends about the CPSIA, then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did.
3. Share about the CPSIA on a forum...and come back here and let me know what forum you posted on.
4. Join one of the CPSIA protest/awareness groups on Facebook (a search under CPSIA will bring up several) then comment telling me which one you joined.
5. Add my button to your website or blog (it's on the top left) then comment with the URL you put it on.
6. Follow me!. (I plan to do some random giveaways just for my followers in the future, too.)
7. Stumble, delicious, share on facebook, or twitter about this blog, this giveaway OR any of the articles linked in this post about the CPSIA and books. Then comment telling me you did.
8. Put the Save Children's Books button on your blog, linked here or to another article on this issue OR put another CPSIA awereness button on your blog (such as the one you may notice located on my sidebar).
9. I am considering doing some sort of a Blog Carnival/Blog-In about this issue. If you would be interested in participating (or in just knowing when it happens so you can come and read the blogs) let me know and I will send you an e-mail. This won't sign you up for a mailing list or anything--I'll just use your e-mail to send you the info about the carnival if I decide to do it (and of course to e-mail you if you win).