In the days after Hurricane Harvey moved through the Houston area, Books Between Kids opened its warehouse to hundreds of volunteers and received donations of thousands of children’s books to replenish schools impacted by the storm.
In partnership with HISD, the organization last week delivered more than 4,000 children’s books to Robinson and Mitchell elementary schools, both recently relocated due to extensive damage directly related to floodwaters from the hurricane.
In the coming days, Books Between Kids will continue its support, delivering 15,000 children’s books to relocated campuses across the school district, including Braeburn, Scarborough and Hilliard elementary schools. Continue reading →
Second-grader Justin Ikwuagwu was the lucky boy, and he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the attention. As Books Between Kids staff and volunteers gathered round for pictures, Justin held up the book, “How Much is a Million?” and smiled shyly. Continue reading →
Since 2013, Books Between Kids has been providing gently used books to HISD elementary school children. The number of HISD schools that have benefited from their generosity has grown to 69 schools this year, and on May 23, they will give away their millionth book to an HISD student at Piney Point ES.
On May 16, students at Braeburn ES were busy browsing the tables of books arranged by grade level. Books Between Kids Co-Founders Amy Barnes and Sandra Ahlhorn looked on, along with a number of long-time volunteers.
Amid whispers about horses, Star Wars and the occasional princess, students at Cunningham Elementary School on Monday excitedly filled their arms with stacks of books, thanks to the nonprofit group Books Between Kids’s annual book celebration.
Students were allowed to choose up to six books to keep as part of their own home library.
Books Between Kids to expand to 12 more HISD schools
The Houston Independent School District will receive 250,000 books that will be donated to more than 35,000 elementary school students to read this summer, thanks to Books Between Kids, a local nonprofit that collects books year-round to distribute in May.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Books Between Kids will distribute free books to HISD students. This year, the organization will expand its efforts from serving 29,000 children at 47 HISD schools to 35,000 children at 59 campuses. Each child will choose up to six books during a book celebration at their school. Continue reading →
The children were digging through some of the 2,000 gently used books donated to that campus by Books Between Kids, so that each child could take home six books to start their at-home libraries. Continue reading →
It’s not every day that one-time volunteers get assigned the best job in the house, but that’s exactly what will happen to philanthropists who sign up to help Books Between Kids later this month.
Between May 16 and 23, that organization will be hosting the celebrations that volunteers wait for eagerly all year—the book distributions at which thousands of HISD students get to pick out free books to take home forever. Four of the 32 participating campuses this year lack the volunteer corps necessary to adequately staff these exciting events—and now, they’re asking HISD for help.
School’s out for the summer, and that means no more pencils and no more books. But wait—there are books. For the second year in a row, Half Price Books has donated 5,000 books to students at the Wharton K–8 Academy so they can take part in the district’s Millionaire Club.
The Millionaire Club is a coordinated effort between HISD’s Library Services and Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment departments to keep kids reading over the summer break in order to combat the “summer slide,” or the loss of academic skills many students experience after three months of inactivity. If a student reads and records five books on a log, then they become a member of the club and are eligible for recognition and prizes when they return to school in the fall.
Books Between Kids founders Amy Barnes & Sandra Ahlhorn with students from Kashmere Gardens ES
More than 12,000 HISD students will be starting off their summer vacation right—with an armload of books to take home, enjoy, and keep—thanks to two book-loving ladies and the non-profit they created last year to support literacy.
“Building home libraries, one summer at a time,” is the slogan of Books Between Kids, which Sandra Ahlhorn and Amy Barnes cofounded in 2012, and that is precisely what the longtime friends (and parents of HISD students) intend to do.
“What really provoked me was an op-ed piece I read in the newspaper that children were living in homes with no books,” explained Barnes. “And ‘no’ means ‘none.’ We both grew up in book-loving homes, so that just didn’t seem possible. Then Sandra heard a talk given by (HISD Superintendent) Terry Grier about the summer slide, and we both thought, ‘You know, we can do something about this.’”