Share Our Books: A Community Reads Program for Elementary Schools

Share Our BooksA couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Sara Pennypacker give a talk to children's librarians, during which she mentioned a program that she and a few of her children's author friends have launched:

"Share Our Books was born from a conversation a few of us children's authors had about how much we loved Community Reads. The idea is for an entire elementary school community from the principal and teachers to the bus drivers and nurses and, of course, the students and their families to share the experience of reading the same book at the same time. It's an honor and a joy to have our books chosen to help bond a community this way. What could we do to encourage more of it, we asked each other? The answer was obvious...provide the books."

The concept is simple:

  • A quantity of books (250 copies) is loaned to an elementary school for six weeks.
  • The school can decide how to implement the program so long as the following guidelines are met:
    • Books go home with students and are read out load with at least one adult family member
    • school staff from bus drivers to the principal, also read the book
  • At the end of the six weeks, the school collects up the books and ships them to the next school, first replacing any lost or significantly damaged books (currently the shipping of the books is at the school's cost but the authors hope that soon they'll be able to establish charitable status and then, with luck, the program will be able to cover the cost of shipping)

Although some of the books have been donated by the publishers, most have been bought by the authors themselves (if I haven't already said it, aren't children's authors wonderful people!)

The books currently available are:

  • Winners Take All by Fred Bowen
  • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami, illus. by Abigail Halpin
  • The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor
  • Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Clementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Marla Frazee
Share Our Books - Current choices

At the time of writing, there are two spots left for the 2012/2013 school year; and they're starting to book for 2013/2014 so, if you're a teacher, school librarian, or parent who'd like to recommend the program to your school, this would be a great time to hotfoot over to www.shareourbooks.org and find out about it!

The books are also available to borrow for the summer - perhaps an opportunity waiting to be grabbed by an enterprising camp counsellor or organizer of a library's summer reading program?

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