As an employee of Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, I work with many children who don’t have a whole lot. So when I am able to give a child a special book donated through the Barnes & Noble annual book drive, it’s incredibly gratifying. Books mean more to children and teens than many people realize, and they are vital to their growth and development.
Children’s Service Society’s Treatment Foster Care program in Madison, Wis., works with children in foster care who have significant emotional, behavioral, physical or medical needs. For example, one little girl in our program who received a book last year was born with a lung disease. She needed trach and feeding tubes since birth, but the trach was removed shortly before the book drive started. At 3 years old, she only knew a handful of words, one of which was Dora, from the “Dora the Explorer” series.
When her caseworker handed her a “Dora the Explorer” book and Dora Magna Doodle, she was so excited she began bouncing up and down in her stroller and clapping her hands. She screamed in her little, raspy voice, “Dora, Dora, Dora!” Her sheer joy and excitement is what makes this book drive so valuable.
It’s not just young children who are impacted by books. A teenage girl from a partner organization came up to a one of my colleagues and asked if she could have “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The employee said, “Of course.” The girl started crying and told the employee that this was the only book she’d ever owned. She moved so many times, the book was lost. She was so happy to have it again.
We are so proud and fortunate to be able to partner with Barnes & Noble to bring so much joy into these children’s lives. Barnes & Noble’s goal is to collect 85,000 books during its book drive. Those books go to children and families across Wisconsin. If you’d like to give the gift of reading this holiday season, visit the Barnes & Noble store near you to find out how.