“Mom, you should have seen the kids run to the bookcase this morning…”
I had been there late in the day on Tuesday with just the first batch. As I scanned and labeled, color coding, the kids, silent from their desk would lif their heads, peeking back at the books shyly, looking from their work trying to catch a glimpse at the shiny, firm covers, the exciting titles. Pointing to their friend, “Look at tha’ one!”
“Mama,” Maria told me the next day, everyone cheered and ran to the bookcase this morning.”
This morning we arranged that Andrew could be with the boys, “boy day!” while Maria and I carried boxes into the classroom and I could use the morning to label them.
A young boy, Franky, wearing a rain poncho and directing traffic saw us walking in, and eagerly, “Maria’s Mom!!! Thank you for the books!” he yelled, excited, kindly.
“Are those more?”
He looked at his friend, their eyes wide, “Whoa….” they smiled.
Maria smiled at me, proud, over the box she was carrying.
I set up in the back, looking up the AR level of each book, reading the titles, taping the stickers. ”Perfect timing!” Maria’s teacher said, “Today is family reading day, and the kids will be reading all day. I think in the past ten years, we have had 3 book donations before now…”
“Students!” she told them, “In a minute, it will be time to go pick your book and start reading!”
“YES!” the boys cha-chinged, and the girls squealed.
“I love how excited they are,” the teacher told me later.
When excused, they quietly came to the back desk, forming a group around the desk, the ones in back jumping to see, looking at some of the new books that had just been labels, touching the covers, “Wow,” one boy said.
“Oh my gah….” they said quietly.
“Thanks for the books,” they said.
“BONE SERIES!!!!!!” one boy exclaimed, causing the teacher to tell them to get reading.
“These books are ours forever, and you can only read one at a time anyway, so pick one and start, then take your quiz!”
They each snapped one up, cracking the covers, beginning the stories, soaking up the words.
Each child in the classroom was reading one of the new donated books as I looked around, completely engrosses in the novel.
A boy came up and picked up, “Esperanza Rising,” looking at it. ”Oh…I read this one,” he told me, forlorn, “It’s actually really sad.” I thought it was cute, so much emotion from a book.
Sweet gift of love from Hawaii! Thank you!
When the kids went to recess, I continued working on the books when I heard a knock on the door, two sheriffs looking in the window. I opened the door to the classroom,
“Hey! Don’t you remember me?”
It was an old friend from all my Spanish classes in college. They were there for family reading day to read to the kids.
“Is this your classroom?”
“No, my daughters.”
“Your….daughter, is in fifth grade?”
“Haha, yes, were are adoptive parents,” I thought a college friend could use an explantation.
I asked him the state of crime in the city, “No good,” he said. He mentioned he had to arrest a 12 year old at the local junior high, “His dad is in prison, and I just see where his life is already going, it’s sad.” I prayed I could meet him mom, and encourage her.
“They need to be reading more books, ” I told him, as I told him about the donated books for the class.
“Actually, yes, they do, and that does help.”
Here are the shelves after half of the new books had already been placed …
And after! Look at the beautiful Harry Potter Series, two of each book, and Lemony Snicket, and Dork Diaries, and beautiful new Hank the CowDog, and so many more. SO BEAUTIFUL! Fifth grade has started ‘rotating’ all classes to prepare them for junior high, so each fifth grade student gets to see them, “Look at those books!” each new group said as they came in.
I want to thank each person who donated a book, or more. This has strengthen not just a child, but many. The kids are excited about the books, more than I even thought they would be. This is something they will always see as an exciting gift, ‘remember when we got new books!?’ knowing, ‘books are exciting.’
Over the weekend before we brought them all in, Maria read an entire book of the Bone series, a graphic novel, cackling her way through, “Mama! This is so funny, so CUTE!” Visuals are HUGE for language learners and comprehension, and prior to people donating books, it would be something I would have known nothing about. Today, when I told two boys they could read Bone series, they looked at me like it was Christmas Morning, eyes wide and silent, hurrying back to their desks. Maria and I discovered so many books in this process that are ideal for her level, so thank you for helping so many sweet kids, helping us to gain knowledge and become better parents, and for helping children for years and years to come who pass through this classroom. As of last week, Maria moved up an entire reading level, she and her teacher both proudly shared with me.
Something exciting is that there is a sweet Catholic school collecting more book this next month that we are going to donate to the school, too.
If only Putin could see her now, flying through books, helping her entire class.
Thank you to those who donated, it means more than we could say, and will for a very long time.
They kids want to say a big thank you too, soon! :)