I love teaching in Lindenwold!
Today, Lindenwold High School students volunteered to return to their Lindenwold's School #4 to distribute 1025 gently used children's books to hundreds of kids and babies, books that had been donated by people in Haddon Heights, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Voorhees, and Haddonfield.
1025 books gone in 15 minutes flat! Are you a Title 1 teacher/administrator who'd like to have this happen in your school? Message us and we'll arrange it. Free! This system of fun, rapid distribution happens best when a school has a large percentage of walkers.
We've had some CRAZY-BIG book donations over the last couple weeks. Sam Becker, son of Andrew Becker and Meredith Gordon Becker, enlisted help of neighbors to bring 4,100 books to the BookSmiles Book Bank! Home run on the Bar Mitzvah Project!
And then Mark Moore, owner of Underground Martial Arts & Fitness Center in Sewell, NJ CRUSHED it by loading a school bus with over 10,000 books and driving it to the Bank! He even DOVE into the DONATION!
Want to match these numbers? We'd settle for a fraction. Let us know here if your FAMILY or BUSINESS is all in for a BOOK DRIVE and we'll partner up! Or if you prefer, contact us by scrolling down this page and send us a message: https://www.booksmiles.org/donatecontact-us.html
The recent "Live-Paint" that we shared with the Voorhees Town Council was a home run. Six artists painted six of our new bins, donated by Toter. Thank you team member Renee Kessler for thinking to contact them and follow up. Another treat was having Kim Dickstein, current New Jersey Teacher of the Year, there to spread her contagious energy and joy. Please read Kim's response to the event:
“Would you like to spread literacy in South Jersey?” Let’s hear a resounding YES! BookSmiles is doing incredible work for children, families, and teachers by collecting and distributing books to “book deserts” and making sure that every family has a home library! Larry Abrams, English teacher at Lindenwold High School, made this all happen — he went from big idea to 501c3! Miraculous work and we can help! This tremendous effort cannot be accomplished or continued alone. It was awesome to meet the principal of Lindenwold School 4, Mrs. Dana Lawrence. This local organization has brought thousands of books to her students! I was also very happy to reconnect with Jim and Susan Ward! Jim invited our students in Stand With Camden to collect, sort, and distribute scholastic magazines to schools in Camden, and he also volunteers with Book Smiles. Visit their FB page for more information on how to get involved, or how to get books!
The live painting event at the Voorhees Town Center was nothing short of magical. I went with my parents, who have read to me since I was a baby and continue to support my literacy practices as an adult. My dad still clips articles from newspapers and magazines for me to read, and my mom and my former teachers continue to comment on my Facebook posts, letting me know that my writing has been read and appreciated by someone who cares. This feedback loop is essential! These literacy moments matter from infancy through adulthood.
Special shout out to the Voorhees Town Center and Mayor Michael Mignogna for making the holidays meaningful for all! I even got to see Mario DiNatale taking photos of the tree, and I can’t wait to put up the tree at Wilderness after Thanksgiving! I’m glad this event came early — I think we could use a little extra magic at any time of the year! We were able to see the joy on children and parents’ faces as they selected books and celebrated the annual tree lighting! You couldn’t help but feel merry on Friday night!
BMI Educational Services (the owners are pictured here) PACKED a U-haul which two of our team members had driven up to East Brunswick. Bottom line... we have TONS of brand new books, MOST OF WHICH ARE MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL, for you to take back to your classrooms to GIVE to your kids, particularly those who rarely or never receive them
Our first restaurant fundraiser! Thank you to our BookSmiles friends and supporters who dined at Iron Hill in Maple Shade this evening. We had several families and couples come in for dinner, and met a few new friends! And of course, we had children's books available to all children in the restaurant.
A big thank you to the friendly staff at Iron Hill Brewery for your help in our set up and welcoming our supporters. As always, the food (and beer) was fantastic and we hope to partner again with you in the future!
About 12 years ago, I had Antoine Brown in my sophomore English class at Lindenwold High. Little did I, or anyone, know that he would turn into a supremely talented artist, aka Zupremaci.
At BookSmiles, we like to make book collection bins into works of art, and he killed it with his creative Cat in the Hat theme. Thanks, Zupremaci! This bin will collect THOUSANDS of gently used and like-new books over the years.
Do you know any artists as good as Antoine who would be interested in painting a bin that pops? Would you like to make a financial contribution to BookSmiles, sponsoring a bin so that we can commission more artists like Antoine? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers going out and spending HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS on books for their students and for classroom libraries might sound INSANE, yet we do it because we're COMMITTED.
Because BookSmiles obsessively harvests gently used and like-new books from book drives and families, TEACHERS LIKE THE FOUR PICTURED HERE can walk away with cases of good stuff. Katie compared the experience to a huge sale at Marshalls. The price? A smile. We are BookSmiles.
The BookSmiles Grand Opening happening Aug. 29th - 1879 Old Cuthbert Road in Cherry Hill has been FILLED UP! Over 100 teachers from around the Delaware Valley will get to graze on a pasture of books. And take a look at the sets that our volunteer Jim Ward put together for the event.
Supporting BookSmiles helps us put books into the hands and homes of children who rarely get books as gifts. Venmo: BookSmiles or https://www.booksmiles.org/donatecontact-us.html
We have actually been open a week before our August 29th Grand Opening, when 100 teachers will walk away with 10,000 books. These pictures say it all. Great groups of civic minded, generous people (like the Girl Scouts featured here - Nayla, Gracie and Mya) decide to do a book drive and/or generate revenue (lemonade stands work).
The groups deliver a donation of 1,500 books to the BookSmiles Book Bank at 1879 Old Cuthbert Road, Cherry Hill.
Everybody has a great time sorting, socializing, and telling jokes.
And finally, a "customer" (Ami Yares - Director of BuildaBridge (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that immerses underserved children in the arts) - comes to the bank to pick up the sorted books which they will hand to children to keep .
We have partnerships at every stage!
What would you do if you became destitute and your washer and dryer broke? Let's say you lacked the means to buy new units. Imagine loading your family's dirty clothes into a borrowed car or Uber (if you're lucky you'd have your own transportation) and taking the bags and baskets to a nearby laundromat. Oh, and you have to take your kids because nobody can watch them. What could your kids possible do to while away the time while you spend time doing the laundry?
Families that do this all the time, in general, are unable to purchase or find books for their children. For the past couple years, Sparkle Clean Laundromat in Clementon has distributed thousands of BookSmiles books to their customers' children. I started supplying them because I was motivated by the Laundromat Library League. This organization distributes books to dozens of laundromats in the Delaware Valley. And recently BookSmiles had the chance to present the LLL with 1,000 books, picked up by volunteer Karen Hamilton! She is the BookSmiles Book Bank's first pickup. Hundreds of kids waiting in laundromats will be able to READ and KEEP their favorite books.
This article from The New York Times documents the emerging books-in-laudromats/barbershops movement!
We had another first as well. Gina Foody, a teacher at Kingsway Middle School, brought her daughter Katie over to the book bank at 1879 Old Cuthbert, Cherry Hill to sort for a few hours. Gina is a force of nature. For two straight years, she inspired her students to do drives that yielded nearly 10,000 books! Yes, we teachers can do major things for literacy outside of the classroom!
I'm THRILLED to announce we have moved out of my garage and into the BookSmiles Book Bank at 1879 Old Cuthbert Road in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Angelique Girard, a rising senior at Kingsway Regional High School brought the Book Bank's first donation and my son helped me hump 103 large cases of books.