Let’s be honest….2020 sucks. It is easy to forget to stop and smell the flowers, to savor that bite, to play in the rain and to remember who you are. I’m guilty of all of it. But today I got reminded of who I am and what I do. I dropped off books off to an in home daycare (thank you for what you are doing Becca!!!!) and received waves and smiles and “I miss yous”. That reminded me that I am the person that talks to kids about books. I’m the person who gets to see kids be excited about reading. I felt like a celebrity with the fans screaming for me….it was the best feeling I could have.
So it feels really good when I go to visit new kids that I haven’t visited before. I get so excited to tell them about books, I wonder if I scare them sometimes! I didn’t like to read as a kid but man I sure wish I had. In this time of so much uncertainty, at least I can try to provide something that is a little normal.
Donations are still coming in, even from the unlikeliest of places. But I’m getting some beautiful books and it is much appreciated. Business cards are made, business name is registered, now to work on a non-profit status….
“There’s at least 100 books in there” says the boy I have yet to meet. He walked down to his neighbor’s house, where I was with the book mobile, and stated what I think every morning, “there’s a lot of books in there”. While to children, it is just a bunch of books, to me it is something so very different. Well sort of. Yes there are a lot of books crammed into my car but that isn’t all I see. I see a world where kids can discover new ideas, visit a favorite character, find a new adventure. Maybe they will pass on some knowledge and not even know it.
Moving bins in and out of my car certainly doesn’t do anything for anyone’s body but it is what it is right now. I long for the day when the side slides open, the step stool is down and the sound of voices and laughter come booming out. Yes, someday there will be a van but for now I transport these adventures in a bin in my car.
I’ve acquired more books again. Some were donated, some I bought. Some of the donated books came from someone I’ve never even met. It blows my mind that a complete stranger would go out of their way to bring me books, just because I say I have a book mobile. I also got another monetary donation but this time from a family I feel that I know pretty well. Again, blowing my mind. My concept is simple….maybe too simple. I want kids to have books. But will it really make a difference? I don’t know but while I contemplate that question, here are new additions to the book mobile.
SundaySeptember 20th marked the first “event” that the book mobile had. I parked the car in the parking lot of the school that I work at and as parents drove through to get math books, I flagged them down like a crazy woman. Fortunately for me, they mostly all knew me. I’m calling it an absolute win even though not every car stopped. Kids that I work with got new books, I got to talk to them and their parents and all felt normal for that bit of time…except for having books in bins in the back of my car.
I was able to make a connection to a mom out in Beaverton (if you aren’t in OR, it is about 30 min outside of Portland) through a FB group I’m in (Portland Vegans…not even a book group). I took to the bookmobile for a short drive and we were able to pick out books for her “voracious 5 year old reader”. I hope to visit again, because after all there, kids everywhere need books. That was unexpected thing number 1.
Unexpected thing number 2….having a friend, a 17 year friend (?????? not a 17 year old friend as my kid seemed to think), who wants to donate to the bookmobile cause. Out of the goodness of her heart just because she knows me and knows what I’m trying to accomplish. She is always someone you can count on and would give people the shirt off her and her family’s back to help someone in need. So thank you Andrea for the unexpected gift…you are truly one of a kind.
I am lucky in that I have a built-in network of parents through my work at the school. I have been there talking to kids about books for going on my 11th year (have been involved there for 16 years). It is through this network that I received these fantastic donations. This does not include all of them, but I wanted to give a sampling and a HUGE thank you to these parents.
Things have changed since I started doing this so many years ago. What I read has changed. How I read has changed. The world has changed what they want to read. The call for more diverse books has been going strong for quite a few years now, and even though there is progress, there is still so much more to do. Diverse isn’t just about the color of one’s skin. It is about where they come from, their culture, their gender, their abilities. I am working very had to have a selection of books that have different points of view, authors of color, people who push boundaries. All of this is to say that sometimes an open mind is required when a kid picks out a book. They are sponges and want more and more information. I have not personally read every single book that the mobile carries, nor will I ever be able to. Content of books may make some people uncomfortable, or may challenge family beliefs. I encourage parents to read the back of the book, or read the first page or thumb through it. The mobile will not be able to make 100% of the people 100% happy 100% percent of the time. I just want kids to have books but ultimately it is up to the parents to determine if the book is appropriate for their child and family.
I hope that you and your child(ren) will find something exciting in these pictures, but this is just a small sample of what’s available. Does your family need some books? Do you know of a child who needs books? Send me an email and let’s get together!
Hello! Where to start. If you don’t know me, I work with kids talking about books, at 2 different jobs. I’ve been doing this for at least 15 years, which is a surprise because I was not the kid you would find with a book in her hands when I was younger. I love this work. It is fun, fulfilling and always different. You never know how a kiddo feels about reading until you ask them. Several times a week you will hear me saying, “You won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like it”. However since March I haven’t been able to do that. I haven’t crawled around on the floor making animal sounds as I do my pajama storytime at the library. I haven’t looked into the faces of the kids at school as I read aloud to see if they were engaged. I haven’t handed a child a book that I was excited about.
It is now August, and what we all suspected happened. It was announced that school will start in the virtual world again. In addition, my branch of the library I work at won’t open fully to the public until sometime in 2021. Then, it hit me. There is the very real possibility that some kids haven’t had a new book in almost 6 months. That is just unacceptable. But what can I do? I had often thought of opening a book mobile but no real motivation to do it. Now, I have the motivation. I remember the book mobile as a child. It was connected to my public library so you had to have a library card to check out a book. I decided that’s not how Potter’s Sweet Pages will work. Any child who visits the bookmobile and needs a book will get one, and if I never see that child again, well then I know they have a book. I have to start small right now as I don’t even have any vehicle other than my car and the books I have are in bins. I have to be aware of Oregon’s “too many people together in one place” guideline and other things I am sure I am missing. But with my “mobile” and my “books”, Potter’s Sweet Pages Book Mobile is born