You will, I expect, be entirely unsurprised to learn that an education writer, author, and former English teacher thinks that books matter. How could I possibly believe anything else?

Throughout my whole life, I have had books. Some of my earliest memories include characters like Alfie and Jeremy Fisher. I couldn’t even guess at the number of times of I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

When I was in primary 1, my teacher (the wonderful Ms Pandolfi) helped me turn a story I had written into a book. It had golden paper as the cover, and I thought it was the most incredible thing that I’d been able to make it. Decades later, when my first proper book was published, I had a similar reaction.

Books taught me about the world and the people in it. They taught me empathy and compassion. They helped me to become a good writer and a confident speaker.

READ MORE: Introducing our Christmas appeal with Scottish Book Trust

They made me clever.

I wouldn’t be who I am today without books. It simply wouldn’t have possible.

And as a parent, they might actually mean even more.

I am extremely lucky to have never had to worry about whether or not I could afford books for my son. He has spent his entire life surrounded by them, reading every day, and at this stage has so many that some are taking up space on my bookshelves, even after we gave dozens away to a friend’s infant daughter.

Since the day he was born I have loved reading to, and then with, him. Alongside taking him to the football and making him listen to music he hates, it is one of the things that makes me really feel like a father.

Read more: Val McDermid: How you can help children discover stories this Christmas

But for far too many families in Scotland, things are different. Books – especially books for children – should never be a luxury, but that’s exactly what they are for people struggling to heat their homes and feed their families.

That’s why, as part of our Christmas campaign, we’re asking our readers to donate what they can to the Scottish Book Trust, who will use that money to give books to children via Scotland’s network of foodbanks. You can make a one-off donation of any amount, or sign up to support them over the longer term – and you can be confident that you are supporting something worthwhile.

A campaign like this one isn’t going to transform the lives of young people in poverty, but it might make them a little bit better. It isn’t perfect, but as is so often the case, perfect is the enemy of good, and making a donation so that a few more children can have a book this Christmas very definitely qualifies as doing good.

As the cost of living crisis escalates, more children and families are being forced to go without. A million people in Scotland are reported to live in poverty, and a quarter of them are children.

It means families are having to make difficult choices to keep food on the table, and many children in Scotland do not have books at home. 

If you would like to make sure a disadvantaged child gets a book for Christmas, you can donate to our Christmas campaign with the Scottish Book Trust. 

Donations support gifting books to families who need them most through food banks and community hubs. 

To bring a child, magic, comfort and joy this festive period, just visit scottishbooktrust/donate