I have emailed everyone (hopefully) who contacted me and Facebooked myself senseless, telling everyone that the Cumbrian Book Appeal is postponed until the new year. This will allow the council to recover a little from the devastation and allow for a more considered approach to the distribution of books.
I am moving towards thinking that the fairest way to give books would be to schools and school libraries rather than to individual children. We simply do not have enough books to make that viable at the moment (although authors are still coming in).
But we have had a bit of good news this morning. Hills Bookshop in Workington in Cumbria has very generously offered to store and distribute the books in the new year on a date yet to be decided. So now there is simply no reason for it not to happen. Hills Bookshop visit all the schools in the area on a regular basis.
I had a very similar generous offer from Kate Johnson at Heffers Bookshop here in Cambridge, but obviously it makes more sense for the books to go direct to Cumbria. I will let all contributing authors know well in advance when the books are required.
As well as thanking all the authors and illustrators, I must also thank Heffers Bookshop, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Random House, Piccadilly Press and Usborne. And I'm going to thank Usborne again because I keep forgetting to mention them. Twit.