“I love books!”

“I love books!”

Megan – MEC Summer Corps Member

ReadGR, Grand Rapids, MI

Growing up in a household that had many books to choose from, it is easy to think that everyone has access to the same library of reading material. That is not the case. There is a reading deficit that is prevalent within numerous schools. This rings even more true as kids are falling behind due to the pandemic. Throughout these first three weeks of service, I have truly been made aware of the importance that literacy plays in the homes of children in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I am in awe at the incredible amount of donations of beautiful, new books that are available for us to give away through our book distributions. Books ranging from board books for infants to thick, chapter books for teenagers. As I walk around the room full of stories, I am thinking about each child who will get to chose one of these books to take home with them. I chose stories of adventure and stories of family, stories in English and stories in Spanish. I make sure to chose books that are culturally reflective of the community in which we are serving.

At the book distribution event, we display our books across multiple tables. It’s amazing to see the vast array all put together! This book distribution event was a bit different. Instead of kids walking up to our table, families stayed in their cars and pulled up next to us. We greeted each parent and child with a smile and wave. Some cars had one child and others held a whole family full. We asked each car the ages and grades of the children and if they were boys or girls. This helped us be able to choose a book for them. Some kids told us what they were interested in, requesting manga or mystery.

As each car pulled away with their books, we were given an abundance of gratitude from the families! They were grateful to have received books that they would be able to read at home with their kids. Through this book distribution, children who may not have access to books at home, can start building their personal library.

I will not forget the young, elementary aged boy who received his book and loudly yelled to us, “I love books!”. These were awesome words to hear and they gave me hope that kids are being supplied with the resources they need to excel!