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.
I just read that 40 percent of the food we produce in the U.S. never gets eaten. Sadly, the majority of the 38 million tons of food waste goes into landfills. And tens of millions of Americans regularly suffer from hunger!
I suspect the same thing happens to perfectly good children's books. Families don't know what to do with them, or forget about them, when their kids outgrow them. They sit on shelves or in plastic tubs for decades and grow yellow, and then get thrown away or recycled. Yet millions of kids in America have no books to call their own.
BookSmiles, aided by Cub Scout Pack 120- Lindenwold New Jersey, is doing something about this. Check out the beautiful collection bin they painted along with their book donation.
Explore our website to learn how you can help save books from landfills and "feed" them to boys and girls who have few, to none, at home.
Last Friday, dozens of teachers working with BookSmiles distributed 12,000 books to 5,050 students in 13 schools reaching 5 districts. We teachers have mighty power when we band together to promote literacy outside of our schools, enabling our students to build robust home libraries.
The ball started to roll when Gina StMaur Foody initiated a book drive at Kingsway Regional middle school, yielding over 4,000 books. Renee Seabrook Hart, a teacher in Glassboro, arranged to have the books transported to her district, and from there she distributed to Clayton. Students in Vineland gathered thousands of books and BookSmiles, with the help of Jane Kreisworth Arochas, provided the rest!
Here are the receiving schools:
Glassboro High School
Thomas E. Bowe Elementary -Glassboro.
Rogers Elementary - Glassboro
Lindenwold School #4
Wallace Middle School - Vineland
Sabater Elementary - Vineland
Mennies Elementary - Vineland
Little Lambs PreSchool - Vineland
Mastery Molina - Camden
Cooper's Poynt Elementary - Camden
Katz Dalsey Academy Camden
A few months ago, teacher Gina StMaur Foody told me that she was going to have her students at Kingsway Regional middle school do a huge book drive for the second year in a row.
Renee Seabrook Hart, a teacher in Glassboro NJ, arranged with Principal Craig Stephenson to have over 3,000 books transported from Kingsway to her school where they will be distributed to prevent the summer slide at a BookSmiles June 7th book fair. Mary Aruffo (Glassboro Gtalp) works with Renee on the Glassboro end, along with other great teachers.
The books, of course, will be free, and kids will take books home to babies in the family as well as younger siblings.
Children should not feel badly if they don't have the funds to buy books at a school book fair. This is a reason why BookSmiles exists!
When five kids from Lindenwold's Elementary School #4 collaborated on a letter, asking me for a Little Free Library, I JUMPED at the chance to make it happen. I called up a bunch of my friends who helped me plan and create the box.
Nancy Bragg painted the box and invited The Courier Post to cover the ribbon-cutting. Lindenwold High School Students helped transport and set up for a book fair featuring 1,200 free books. How great that the story got picked up by AP News and US News and World Report!
So excited to have Camden County College partnering with BookSmiles to be a permanent collection station. I want to give a big thanks to President Donald Borden, a voracious reader, for being so supportive.
The College has an education program for future teachers. We look forward to supporting them by providing them with tons of kid's books. We also hope to involve more colleges and universities in the sourcing, sorting, and distribution process.
Drop your donations off at Wolverton Library and Halpern Hall, lower level at the elevators. We need books for infants all the way to 6th graders. Help kids who have few, if any, books build libraries in their homes!