A space for anyone passionate about the power of books
(Hollywood, CA) – While budget cuts continue to hold back many public schools from purchasing new books, the number of “Book Mentors” willing to provide those books is growing.
BookMentors asked a few of our favorite celebrity reading advocates to share a children’s book that touched their lives, hoping it will inspire more people to donate books through the site.
(Orange is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder)
“I am re-reading “The Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster” now with my 6 year old and the wisdom is still so relevant and hilarious!”
David Alan Basche (The Exes)
“I lost my Dad when I was just 6 years old. So the message of Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman is especially important to me. The book is a great way to instill in my 6 year old daughter the idea that my love will never leave her!”
“I wrote the book What Are You Hungry For?: Feed Your Tummy and Your Heart to shed light on children’s emotional nourishment needs. When parents read this book to their children, it gets the conversation about feelings going early, and the difference between the importance of nourishing your heart and nourishing a healthy body.”
Rob Huebel (Transparent, Children’s Hospital)
“Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein”
“This book was one of my first exposures to comedy and absurdity (and poetry).
It showed me that poetry could be FUN and dark and
fantastic and that reading could be a pleasure.”
Holly Hannula (Nightcrawler)
“This book is not only a captivating & splendid fantasy about the world of witches, but a heartwarming tale about a boy & his grandmother.
As a child, I was completely mesmerized by this story & still appreciate it today.”
Connecting teachers, librarians, and students in need of books with donors supporting literacy, reading, and education, BookMentors uses micropatronage to solve book access problems in high-poverty schools.
A space for anyone passionate about the power of books, the Web site enables readers, writers, publishers, and teachers to connect and share information about children’s and YA literature. Unique features include virtual book drives, which allow parent, teacher, and community organizations to request and donate books, using leaderboards as a charitable gamification incentive.
The site was founded by former urban teacher and literacy coach Jen Soalt, but is run through a board of dedicated volunteers located across the country.
“We wanted to create a space where readers, donors, and teachers could connect and feel like the gift of a particular book to a particular classroom mattered,” Soalt says. “They can share the pleasure of an exchange entirely focused on literature and reading — bookworms and teachers who love teaching reading can affirm their joy in sharing books with children.”
BookMentors allows teachers to ask for the particular book or books they really need, not just any donated old books that won’t meet the needs and preferences of individual students or teaching curriculum.
“For reluctant readers, a bright new book, specifically chosen by a teacher for them can make a huge different to motivation,” Soalt says.
Lack of access to books constrains the literacy development of students in poor communities. There are about 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods. In low-income neighborhoods, this ratio has been estimated to be approximately 1 book at home for every 300 children.
BookMentors is run by a dedicated group of volunteers around the country. Learn more at www.bookmentors.org.