#KidsNeedBooks For Summer Reading

Research shows that when kids own books, they read more and are more likely to self-identify as readers. It also shows that when kids don’t read during their summer breaks, their reading skills can get rusty and their interest in books can wane.

One of the largest reasons why kids don’t read during their summer breaks is that they simply don’t have access to any books. In an effort to counteract that problem in some small way, I’ve been giving away books all school year long as part of the #KidsNeedBooks movement and, in addition, gathering a separate bundle of books to now, at the end of the year, distribute to a couple hundred kids.

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Where did I get these books?

Some of them are from my own personal collection – books that I have read and enjoyed (even loved!) but can’t, deep down, see myself ever rereading. In kids’ hands, these books are powerful. Some of them are powerful enough to dramatically redirect and improve lives. On my shelves, these same books can only ever hope to look nice.  (And I’m not knocking hanging onto books for their looks or the comfort of just having them around. Believe me – I still do plenty of that!)

The majority of the books, however, I’ve gotten elsewhere: at library sales (the sales my local branch holds has paperbacks for 50 cents, hardcovers for a dollar); in bookstores’ used, “hurt,” and remaindered bins or sections; from friends (including some very generous author friends!) and neighbors; and at yard sales.

I share all of this not because I want a pat on the back. I don’t. And honestly, none of this has been hard work. It’s been an absolute joy to find these books, to stack them up in my closet and think about the kids who will soon hold them in their hands, who will be able to say, “This is my book. Mine.”

I share all of this to help alert those who aren’t aware of the book deserts throughout our country, who don’t grasp the long-lasting damage that can result from a kid simply not being able to get their hands on a book to read. I share it, too, in the hopes that some of you will be inspired to gather your own stacks of books, to keep an eye out for them in your comings and goings, to pick through your bookshelves or put 10, 15, 20 dollars toward bettering and maybe even dramatically changing some kids’ lives. I mean, could there be a better investment?

Should you want more information about any of the above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either here, using my Contact form, or on social media. To learn more about the #KidsNeedBooks movement, click here, or search the hashtag on social media. And if you are an educator who would be interested in sharing some of the books pictured above with your students, fill out THIS FORM. I will be randomly selecting winners to receive books over the coming weeks.

~ Jarrett

17 thoughts on “#KidsNeedBooks For Summer Reading

  1. You have SO inspired me. I work in a school where my kids desperately need books for summer reading. I am so fortunate to be able to go to the NCTE national conference every year and come home with a multitude of new books…SIGNED BOOKS! I have a collection that I don’t even have room for in my house after I read them. They will be finding a new home this summer with kids who need something to read. Thank you for your words of inspiration and your act of kindness!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Emily! I am constantly being inspired by educators and librarians just like YOU! I’m just giving back. I will be at NCTE in November — I hope to see you there!!!

  2. What an amazing way to share with students. When I was a kid, I had a few books on my shelf and read them OVER and OVER. Like you, I purchase books at yard sales and used bookstores. They go to my classroom library where any student or teacher in the school (not just my students) are welcome to borrow for any length of time.

    Sometimes people ask me why I don’t make the kids check out books from my shelf — since I don’t keep track of the books, the kids could just keep them. I always say that’s okay because it means that child has a book at their house. Who knows, maybe it will help a sibling or parent to read, too!

    1. Thank you for sharing all this, Dianna! You are a truly remarkable educator, and your students are lucky to have you! I know many teachers who feel the same as you — if a book disappears, it might be because that student really, truly NEEDS it. Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Love this post Jarrett. I’m going through my library now. I’ve also had a parent contact me this weekend. They are downsizing and wanted me to have some books. Starting this week students are getting books. I’m pretty excited about it.

  4. I completely agree! I’ve been reading books by Stephanie Harvey, Smokey Daniels, Kylene Beers and they’ve all stated the same thing. So I made a commitment to my students and their parents this year. ‪This year I kept track of the scholastic points I earned from book orders and gave it all back to my students. The parents and I earned 21,000 points. Each Ss received 700 points to get books to take home and keep for summer reading. I can’t wait for their books to arrive and send them home.

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