MARCH-ing Books to Kids

Hello! This is my first post here, and what better way to inaugurate my new website blog than to highlight a wonderful literacy initiative happening this month? I was thrilled to read about author Michelle Eastman's month-long MARCH-ing Books to Kids campaign, part of her ongoing project, Picture Book Pass it On. 

With MARCH-ing Books to Kids, Michelle asks each of us to donate a favorite children's book to The Storybook Project, to help kids of incarcerated parents. Here is how the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa describes their project:

"The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child."

I applaud all efforts to get more children's books to households in need. And I love that, in doing so, the Storybook Project helps incarcerated parents to let their children know how much they care, at a time when both kids and parents likely need it most. I love to think that this project could even encourage some parents and children to bond over books after release. 

So please join me in following Michelle's three calls to action this month:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books.  Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on the PBPiO Facebook page.  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

Here is Michelle's latest update on MARCH-ing Books to Kids, which also links to a good article in American Libraries Magazine about similar projects.

Thank you, Michelle, for your commitment to getting picture books to more kids who need them, and for making me aware of this fantastic project!