10 Great Charity Reads – Authors & Books That Give Back


From first-time writers to New York Times best sellers, authors like Elton John and J.K. Rowling have chosen to use their craft for the greater good, giving proceeds to such charities as The National Parks Foundation, Inspiration Kitchen, and Comic Relief. Next time your looking for a good book, grab one of these ten great reads and feel good about your contribution to some worthy causes. 

  1. Title: Purpose for the Pain

Author: Renee Yohe

Proceeds Go To: To Write Love on Her Arms

The Book: Purpose for the Pain is a handwritten book of journals from author Renee Yohe’s dark past. As a teenager, Yohe was plagued with depression and addiction and as a result faced suicidal thoughts and self-injury. The journal is an often-graphic representation of her demons.

The Charity: TWLOHA was founded in 2006 with the intention of helping Yohe cope with her addiction. Days after meeting future TWLOHA founder, Jamie Tworkowski, Yohe was denied entry to a treatment center because they didn’t have a detox. She could be admitted only after the drugs had left her system. Tworkowski and his friends decided to take her in and help her detox by starting their own rock and roll rehab. They surrounded her with people and music and fun. At the end of the five days they took her to rehab and found she couldn’t afford the price. They began making and selling t-shirts through a Myspace page and soon had enough for her treatment. The charity later took off and has now provided support to millions of people suffering with depression, addiction, suicide, and self-injury.

  1. Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Author: J.K. Rowling

Proceeds Go To: Comic Relief

The Book: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was released as part of a two-book set of Harry Potter schoolbooks. The book is an A to Z listing of all magical beings, and is meant to be a replication of some Hogwarts first-year reading material. The other half of the short series, Quidditch Through the Ages, is also available for the Harry Potter aficionado. The books are even attributed to the fictional authors (Newt Scamander and Kennilworthy Whisp) of Rowling’s fantastical world.

The Charity: Comic Relief is a UK-based charity that strives to create a world free of poverty through the power of entertainment. Every year, the charity hosts one of two major events, Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, and raises millions of pounds. Red Nose Day urges people to do something funny in exchange for a monetary pledge from friends, family, co-workers, etc. The day has become something of an institution in the UK and even brings a large number of celebrities and comedians together on BBC TV to raise money through an evening of entertainment. Sport Relief involves getting sponsorships to run 1, 3, or 6 miles and is also supported by BBC TV programming.

  1. Title: Go Do Good Book

Photographers: Chicago Photography Collective

Proceeds Go To: Non-profits photographed for the book

The Book: This beautiful coffee-table book was created by Chicago Photography Collective to highlight a number of non-profits through poignant photos by Patty Carroll, Marc PoKempner, Eric Futran, Emily Long, Ken Ilio, Ron Gordon, Alan Teller, Mat Tuceur, Paul Natkin, Sandra Steinbrecher, and Ron Seymour.

The Charities: All proceeds from the book go to the non-profits that appear in the book including Inspiration Kitchen, a training program for homeless and low-income men and women to learn to cook and begin a new life; Growing Power, a group dedicated to transforming communities through the creation of local food systems; and Preservation Chicago, an organization whose mission is to save Chicago’s most endangered historic buildings.

  1. Title: Love Always, Petra

Authors: Petra Nemcova and Jane Scovell

Proceeds Go To: Give2Asia and Happy Hearts Fund

The Book: Love Always, Petra is a devastating story of survival by supermodel, Petra Nemcova. When the 2004 tsunami struck Thailand, it changed Nemcova’s life forever, taking the life of her boyfriend Simon Atlee, and leaving her clinging to a tree for hours with a shattered pelvis. This novel is the story of how she healed, both physically and emotionally.

The Charity: Both organizations make it their mission to assist people in areas recovering from natural disasters. Happy Hearts Fund is dedicating to the rebuilding of schools while Give2Asia helps individuals and businesses devastated by events like the 2004 tsunami.

  1. Title: The Golden Hat: Talking Back To Autism

Authors: Kate Winslet, Margret Ericsdottir, and Keli Thorsteinsson

Proceeds Go To: The Golden Hat Foundation

The Book: The Golden Hat was created by Kate Winslet, Margret Ericsdottir and her son, Thorsteinsson, who has non-verbal autism, to give people some understanding of what it is like to live with autism. The book is filled with personal stories from Winslet and Ericsdottir, as well as Thorsteinsson’s inspiring poetry. Winslet also poses the question “What is important for you to express?” and publishes answers from some of the world’s most famous people including Christina Aguilera, Zac Efron, James Franco, Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and many more.

The Charity: The homepage of GoldenHatFoundation.org features a personal plea from its founder Kate Winslet, “Join me in honoring the intellectual capabilities of those with autism. Together we can make a difference.” The foundation’s mission is to increase autism awareness and establish learning opportunities to help people with autism learn to communicate, receive an education, and enjoy a fulfilling work and social life.

  1. Title: American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America

Author: Michelle Obama

Proceeds Go To: The National Park Foundation

The Book: In this visually stunning book, the first-lady chronicles her adventures in gardening. In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted the White House’s first-ever vegetable garden. The project sparked her interest in exploring our country’s gardening history. While telling her own garden’s story, from it’s planting to the most recent harvest, Mrs. Obama weaves in tales of other inspiring gardens and what they taught her about fostering her own home-grown food.

The Charity: The National Park Foundation is the official charity for America’s National Parks. The foundation’s mission is to upholdthe facilities and programs of such National Parks as Yosemite National Park, Everglades National Park and the Washington Monument. Donations to the foundation go to programs to educate youth on the importance of our national parks, projects to assist in the conservation and preservation of existing parks, exhibitions and memorials chronicling our parks’ rich histories, and grants for community organizations that support an interest in our parks.

  1. Title: Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

Author: Joseph Galliano

Proceeds Go To: Doctors Without Borders

The Book: Dear Me is a collection of letters from some of the world’s most notorious people to their sixteen-year-old selves. Hugh Jackman, Seth Green, James Franco, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, and Alice Cooper, among others, provide their former selves with words of guidance, comfort and advice. Jim Belushi jokingly writes, “Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Jimmy, I know you’re sitting in County Jail right now for the next three days because Judge Nolan was sick of seeing you in Juvenile Court. It’s okay.” The book’s website also hosts a section of reader’s letters featuring some amazing life lessons. One reader wrote to her sixteen-year-old self to warn her of a life-changing accident she would experience at 17, while another provides a list of things she wishes she’d known including, “Don’t get that first tattoo.” The stories give us all a reason to reflect, whether you’re a teenager wondering what comes next or an adult taking a look back into your youth, Dear Me has something for everyone.

The Charity: Doctors Without Borders brings free medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries. The group helps communities deal with armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, and natural disasters.

  1. Title: Love Is The Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS

Author: Elton John

Proceeds Go To: Elton John AIDS Foundation

The Book: Love Is The Cure is a very personal account of Elton John’s life throughout the height of the AIDS crisis. In the 1980s, John befriended Ryan White, a young boy from Indiana who had contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. This relationship, and White’s subsequent death shaped John’s life forever, and led him to dedicate much of his life to helping end the AIDS epidemic.

The Charity: To date, the Elton John AIDS Foundation has donated over $275 million to fighting AIDS throughout the world.

  1. Title: What Is The What

Author: Dave Eggers

Proceeds Go To: The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation

The Book: Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity, brings readers the unimaginable story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee living in the United States. The story follows Deng from his home in Sudan, through Ethiopia, Kenya, and finally to the United States. His journey is so massive in scope it is hard to imagine the novel is based on his true story of civil war, genocide, and survival.

The Charity: The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation works to build schools, libraries, teacher-training institutes, and community centers to increase education opportunities in post-conflict South Sudan. Their first major project, an 18-structure educational complex in Deng’s native Marial Bai, South Sudan, was completed in May 2009.

  1. Title: The Hollywood Cookbook: Cooking For Causes

Authors: Jackie Zabel and Morgan Most

Proceeds Go To: Nearly two-dozen charities involved in the making of the book.

The Book: In this award-winning cookbook, celebrities like Ron Howard, Bob Saget, and Brendan Fraser teach you how to make the recipes that have shaped their favorite food memories. Each entry is complete with an anecdote from family dinners, lavish parties, and holiday celebrations. This edition even includes recipes from six celebrity chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, and Joachim Splichal.

The Charity: Charities benefited include The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and many more.

One comment on “10 Great Charity Reads – Authors & Books That Give Back

  1. […] from her ridiculously popular series, J.K. Rowling is also known for her generosity. In fact, she wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them as part of a two-book pair of Harry […]

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