The Book Bus

We have Tom Mascher staying with us at Chanters Lodge Livingstone. Tom Maschler is a British publisher and writer. The son of Austrian Jews, he was five when his family fled the Nazis in Vienna and brought him to England. As a teenager, he travelled widely, worked on a kibbutz and did national service before going on to become one of the most dynamic figures in publishing.

In his role as head of Jonathan Cape, he discovered and published many writers including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan and Bruce Chatwin to whom he acted as an informal patron. On The Black Hill was inspired by Chatwin’s stay in Maschler’s Welsh holiday cottage on the English-Welsh borders and it was there that Chatwin wrote most of the manuscript.
One of Maschler’s earliest coups was purchasing Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 for £250. He also was one of the key figures responsible for creating the Booker Prize in the late Sixties – envisaged as a British version of the French Prix Goncourt. His memoir, Publisher, was published in 2005. He was married to Fay Maschler, the long-serving London Evening Standard restaurant critic, but divorced in the mid-Eighties. In 1988, he married Regina Kulinicz to whom he is still married.

Tom is in Zambia with The Book Bus – I am now the proud owner of a Waterstone/Book Bus Book Bag with illustrations by Quentin Blake! Here’s about the Book Bus:

“The Book Bus believes that every child should have the opportunity to discover the hidden treasures that books contain.

Our aim is to reveal the value of literacy by instilling a lifelong love of reading in young children. Using the spoken word, artwork, puppet-making and a host of other media, our volunteers bring to life the worlds within storybooks. The Book Bus provides a mobile service and actively promotes literacy to underprivileged communities in Zambia and Ecuador. The legacy of each Book Bus visit is a reading corner and bookshelves stocked with children’s books.

There’s no doubt that stories can make a difference to children’s lives and with story tellers onboard, the Book Bus can help maintain the link between local society and its own stories as well as providing inspiration with new stories from afar.

The idea of using a bus to bring books to children is not a new one but our Book Buses are more than simple mobile libraries. Our onboard volunteer crews engage with children and their teachers, promoting reading in a way that is creative, safe and above all, fun. By mixing books with enjoyment, they aim to encourage an early interest in reading. Through repeat visits, regular book donations and help with developing library spaces, they hope to sustain that interest.

Everywhere they go, our Book Buses attract attention, thanks to the stunning artwork by celebrated children’s artist, Quentin Blake, who is a staunch supporter of the project. Our crew of enthusiastic volunteers work with local teachers, storytellers, musicians and artists. Not only do these guest artists entertain the children, they also help to ensure that the Book Bus’ approach, material and communication are appropriate to local needs.”

Isn’t that great!