Simple Service: Rest Stop Library for Children


Every year my family takes multiple road trips to see family and close friends. Although we always look forward to these trips, preparing for them is another story. We usually wait until the last minute to pack and then spend all night throwing toys, clothes, shoes and snacks into our bags and suitcases. We try to think of everything from changes in weather to possible sickness and plan accordingly, but I realized that something we have never considered is how we might be able to help others while on our road trips.

After some creative brainstorming, which included a call to the Oregon Department of Transportation to ask if they had any tips, my family and I decided we would put together a box of our children’s books and leave it at a rest stop for traveling families to enjoy.

A few weeks before our road trip to Southern California my older daughter and I spent an afternoon sorting through all our children’s books and came up with two large piles we wanted to donate.


We put all the books into a plastic clear storage bin about the size of a shoe box and planned to leave it at the rest stop. We then created a sign we would paste above our books. The night before our trip while we were doing our usual throw things into a suitcase routine we just made sure to pack our box of books and sign as well. Easy peasy!

It turned out our idea was the perfect simple service for this particular trip because several hours into it we hit a 3 hour traffic jam due to forest fires. When we finally reached a rest stop we could tell everyone, along with us, was so tired of being stuck in their vehicle. We brought out our box of donated children’s books and overheard several people say how excited they were to have a new book to enjoy on this unexpectedly long detour. It really was a simple thing we did but we are hoping it will bring smiles to many traveling families to come.


If you would like to create your own free children’s book donation box, feel free to use the template I made below. Just click on the flyer for an option to print.

If you can think of more ways kids can give back while traveling please share them on this post! We would love to hear your ideas!

Happy travels!

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