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Books Help Kids Dream Big

March 16, 2021

Northfield area residents, families, and organizations together donated more than 1,000 new and gently used children’s books to the recent Northfield Promise Book Drive.

Throughout February – I Love to Read Month – people were encouraged to donate books for readers ages birth through eighth grade. The books were collected at a drive-through collection event on March 2 at the First United Church of Christ in Northfield.

“We saw donations in bulk from several faith communities and student groups at both Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges,” said Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Coordinator Laura Turek, who provides support to the Northfield Promise Reading Action Team. “Also, many kind individuals and families donated to this great effort.”

Especially encouraged were board books, picture books, Spanish and bilingual books; and books that include stories by and about people of color. The goal of the book drive was to help ensure that every child has easy access to wonderful books that will help them dream big.

“There was lots of diverse representation in book characters and authors, and we had a great partnership with our local bookstore, Content,” Turek said.

Content curated a list of recommended books for different age groups for the book and donated 20% of sales back to Northfield Promise in the form of books.

Once they are sorted, donated books will be displayed in a central place for ELL and Reading Support students, such as a gathering area or classroom. Before spring break and summer break, participating students will get to choose books to take home.

“The Books on Break model embodies three core values: choice, quantity, and book ownership,” Turek said. “Students choose the books they are interested in, even if the books might be below or above their reading level. Students take the books home to keep.”

Books collected during the book drive will also be distributed to young families and students at the food shelf, and they will be placed in Little Free Libraries all over Northfield. Teachers will also have access to them for their classrooms.

If you missed the drop-off day and have children’s and youth books to donate, you can place them in one of the Northfield Rotary Club collection bins located around town – including at Bridgewater, Greenvale Park, and Sibley Elementary Schools; the Northfield Community Education Center, (700 Lincoln Parkway); the Northfield Middle School; the Northfield Area Family YMCA; and the Northfield Community Resource Center.

For more information, email Turek at laura@healthycommunityinitiative.org.

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