Thank you, educators, for birthday books, reading online, book bistros, reading book reports in windows, hosting Star Wars Day, picking out books that matter, and listening to kids talk about LEGOs when they need it—you are appreciated beyond measure!
“We have a district-wide Star Wars reading challenge…including dress as your favorite character. We handed out our Star Wars books from First Book on May 4th (May the 4th be with you) during the food pick-up, and we cranked up the music, greeted them on the loudspeaker, teachers made a video beforehand…the kids eyes lit up!”–
–Rob Nista, Beechnau Elementary School, Ravenna, MI
“I have started small with distributing books by going to kids’ houses on their birthday and giving a card and a book from the boxes. I also have started a Facebook page called Mrs. S.’s Reading Connection, in which I do book giveaways each week. The kids are absolutely loving it!!! On my Facebook page, I have been going live with my story times so I can interact with the kids that are online at that time. Some have built blanket forts and others have read to their grandparents over the phone!”–Christina Soberalski, Clinton Elementary School, Clinton, Illinois
As a public library working in formal partnership with the Novato Unified School District, we coordinated with school Nutrition staff who helped us receive and sort the books while maintaining social distance. We’re calling it the Book Bistro! As families pick up lunch, staff offered them a book. They then drove up to our Book Bistro and we passed books through the car window. People were really thrilled to get books! One mom, who primarily spoke Spanish, told us that she ran out of books long ago and was so happy that she could just take some for her kids.”—AmySonnie, South Novatoa Library Hamilton Program, Marin County, CA
“We purchased books to give to all the children in three counties that are currently receiving meals. Delivery looks different at each of the schools. One of the school is running their bus routes; a second school is delivering in their school vans utilizing their teachers; the third school had parents picking up meals daily at the school, with volunteers (including us, a couple of teachers, and a Headstart representative) delivering to parents unable to afford the daily trip. We’ve had several moments that let us know the books are appreciated: One mom who texted and said, “Start watching next week our windows. My kids are reading the books and making book reports for us to tape up in our windows.”—Melissa Emel, Northeast Missouri Caring Communities, Edina, MO
“I did a video call with a student and parent and my student spent 40 minutes showing me his LEGO figures. His mom said, “you don’t have to only talk to her about LEGOs,” to which he replied, “I know I don’t have to talk about LEGOs, I want to talk about LEGOs, and she’s listening!” It made me smile to know that he never would have had 40 minutes with my full attention to show me LEGOs before the closure, and that it was really special to him to have that connection with his teacher. He was beaming. The closures have opened up other windows into lives of my students and their families and have led us to connect in special ways.”–Caroline Kramer, Kent Elementary School, Kent, WA
“We have been giving out the books at mobile food pantries. Nothing made me happier than seeing little ones in car seats with books in their laps while we put food in trunks. I also ordered adult coloring books, because we have many families that we serve that need something to lessen their anxiety so they can be good parents. First Book sure did make some parents happy, too. I had a homeless lady that walked up to the mobile pantry–I wish I had a picture of the smile on her face when I asked her if she would like a new adult coloring book.”—Amber Peters, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning, Chicago