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.
Braeburn math teacher Clarita Hamilton was shepherding the students and recommending books to them. “Even as a math teacher, I know how important reading is,” Hamilton said. “This is the fifth year some of these kids have gotten books, and now they have a great home library. Books they got when they were younger are now being passed down to their siblings.”
Each student selects six books every year. Fourth-grader Kimberly showed off one of her books, “My Sister the Vampire.”
“The best part is that I have a collection of books now, since I have been getting them since I was little,” Kimberly said. “And they are all free!”
Barnes and Ahlhorn started by holding book drives in their children’s elementary schools after they realized how many low-income students do not have books at home. Research shows that children growing up without books are less likely to complete a basic education than their peers who do have books (University of Nevada, 2010).
Books Between Kids relies on their volunteers to solicit and gather books, sort them by grade level, and help with distribution. They also have a number of community and corporate partners, including BetterWorld Books, The Children’s Fund Inc., KHOU.com, and Speedy Printing.