My body may be in Germany, but my heart and soul are still in Texas, and that’s where a set of my books will be too in a couple of days. Last week, I received this appeal in the mail from J.W. Caceres Elementary School in Donna, Texas:
Now, here’s an appeal that didn’t ask for my money–all these good people want is books! Not only that, but they’re going to take those books for a ride and bring them right to the front doors of the children who want to read them, and they’re doing it during the summer months, when those children will have the free time to do a little reading for pleasure. This may be the gentle push these children need to become lifelong readers and learners. It was in the summer that I first learned to love books. Didn’t you? The rest of the year is just too busy.
Donna is right at the southern tip of Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, not too far from the sea. Intrigued by the letter, I looked Donna up in City-Data, and here’s what I learned about it: The population is about 16,000 people, and the estimated median household income is only $25,000; compare that to the rest of Texas, where it’s $48,000, and the rest of the country, where it’s even higher than that. City-Data also informed me that unemployment in Donna is high (almost 12%) and that the average house has a value of only $60,000. This isn’t a wealthy town.
But Donna is a town blessed with educators who really care about their children. When I asked for more details, the principal explained that the district is supplying the bus for this project, and the elementary-school staff themselves are volunteering to keep the project going during their vacation time. “We are very excited,” she wrote me, “and our students are also very excited to have the opportunity to continue to read throughout the summer.”
Please consider doing what I did: send some interesting books to these children! Maybe you’re a YA author like me, and you’re afraid that your books are written at too high a reading level for grade-school students. Not to worry: the principal tells me, “We do have several of our 5th graders who are advanced readers and read middle school as well as beginning 9th grade material.” And these advanced readers might be the very ones who will fall in love with your books.
If you can’t send any books, then please consider passing this appeal on to others who might be able to help. Do you know any bloggers who review children’s books? Are you in touch with any librarians who might be weeding some high-interest books from their shelves? Is your best friend’s library bursting at the seams? Please reach out and let these people know that their books are tired of life on the shelf. They’re ready to go out and hit the road!
To read my latest blog posts, please click on the “Green and Pleasant Land image at the top of the page. This post may be freely copied in any format. All data on Donna, Texas, comes from City-Data.com and may be found at this link. The photo of the bus at the top of the page is in the public domain and comes from Wikimedia Commons, at this link.