An Exciting New Chapter

Partners Come Together for Ambitious Book Drive

It’s called a “worldwide day of action.”
That’s the name that the United Way has given to a program that represents a significant expansion of its annual Day of Caring program staged each September.

Dora Robinson

Dora Robinson

“It was decided that one day simply isn’t enough,” said Dora Robinson, executive director of the United Way of Pioneer Valley, noting that there will be several such days of action over the next year.
The first, coming up on June 21, will have a hard focus on the broad subject of literacy, and a very aggressive goal: collecting 5,000 books for a variety of child-literacy programs, including the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI), which works to bridge the gap in learning that occurs when many area young people leave school for the summer months. Other programs include Link to Libraries and Book It.
To reach that lofty goal, the United Way, a long-time supporter of the HSLI, will conduct the Connect to Reading Book Drive, and is working with a number of partners on this initiative, including BusinessWest and its Difference Makers for the past three years, as well as sponsors of that event. Other partners include Link to Libraries, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Girls Inc., the Springfield Public Library, and the Holyoke Public Library.
The Difference Makers program was initiated two years ago, and soon after the first winners of the award were feted, an initiative was announced making literacy an ongoing priority for the recipients of that honor, and a matter to which they would contribute time, energy, and imagination. To date, these efforts have focused mostly on the HSLI and collecting books to support that effort.
In each of the past two years, several hundred books have been collected, and the efforts have culminated in a book-distribution and read-aloud program at the Dunbar Community Center.
“This year, as the United Way devotes a day of action to efforts to promote literacy in this region, BusinessWest and its Difference Makers are partnering with the United Way and other groups to not only collect books, but also bring needed attention to this important issue, said Kate Campiti, associate publisher and advertising director for BusinessWest.
Each of the Difference Makers is being asked to make a commitment to collect 70 new books or the equivalent amount of money, Campiti continued, adding that recent sponsors of the event will also be invited to take part in the campaign.
And while the book drive is the focus of the June 21 day of action, this will actually be a lengthy drive that will take place between June 16 and July 5, said Robinson, adding that the drive will kick off with an elaborate read-aloud program and book-collection effort at the Barnes & Noble in Holyoke. For those books purchased at that store between June 16 and June 25, Barnes & Noble will donate 15% of the total spent toward the purchase of more books.
On the actual day of caring, a book-distribution effort will be staged at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke (and co-hosted by Girls Inc.), as well as an initiative to register young people for library cards at area libraries.
Susan O’Connor, director of the HSLI, said the United Way’s campaign will serve to bring additional awareness to the Hasbro program, and spotlight efforts to address the summer learning gap that impacts thousands of area young people.
“While the average home has 13 books per child, low-income homes have fewer than one book per child,” said O’Connor, adding that this summer’s campaign has the stated goal of collecting at least one book for every child in Hampden County involved in the HSLI (roughly 1,300), and certainly hopes to far exceed that number.
“Children who don’t have summer learning opportunities lose three months of reading every summer, which can accumulate into a two-year gap in reading by the sixth grade,” O’Connor continued. “Given that two-thirds of our children in Springfield and more in Holyoke are not proficient readers by grade 4, which is when we like to see children become proficient, we simply must keep the learning faucet on during the summer.”
For those interested in helping the United Way in its book-collecting efforts, the following list of suggested titles has been compiled by HSLI administrators. Other books are also welcome. Books can be dropped off at the United Way of Pioneer Valley in Springfield, Odyssey Books in South Hadley, Olive Tree Books in Springfield, and BusinessWest, which has offices at 1441 Main St. in Springfield.

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Charlie Parker Played Bebop by Chris Raschka
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
My Color My World/ Mis Colores Mis Mundo by Maya Christian Gonzales
ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (and Huevos Verdes con Jamon)
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (as an early reader)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
The Very Quiet Cricket, by Eric Carle
My Colors My World by Maya Christian Gonzales

Grades 2 and 3

Not Norman by Kelly Bennett
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
Winners Never Quit! by Mia Hamm
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera B. Williams
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater
The Paperbag Princess by Robert N. Munson
Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie by Robbin Gourley
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Grades 4 through 6

Lon PoPo: A Red Riding Hood Story for China by Ed Young
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull
The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
The Voice that Challenged the Nation: Marion Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freed
Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Kadir Nelson
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
Holes by Louis Sachar
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
The Giver by Louis Lowry
The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

Chapter Books for All Teens

Missing Mae by Cynthia Rylant
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The Outsiders by S.E Hinton
The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Picture books for All Ages

Martian’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Just the Two of Us by Will Smith
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieska
Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin
Barack Obama: United States President by Roberta Edwards

Spanish Read Aloud For Young Ages

Buenas Noches, Luna (Goodnight Moon) by Lois Elhert (age 3-6)
Tu Mama es una Llama? (Is Your Mama a Llama?) by Deborah Guarino (ages 3-6)
El Gato en el Sombrero (The Cat in the Hat) by Dr. Seuss (ages 3-6)
Huevos verdes con jamón (Green Eggs and Ham) by Dr. Seuss (ages 3-6)
La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) (board) by Eric Carle (ages 3-6)
Cinco Monitos Brincando en la Cama/Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Bilingual edition: English and Spanish) by Eileen Christelow
Un Renacuajo (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #1) (ages 6-9)
Esperanza Renace (Esperanza Rising, Spanish-language edition) (ages 6-9)
La Telarana de Carlota (Charlotte’s Web, Spanish-language Edition) by E.B. White (ages 6-9)
Ramona Empieza el Curso (Ramona series, Spanish-language edition) by Beverly Cleary (ages 6-9)
Dinosaurios al Atardecer (Dinosaurs Before Dark: Magic Tree House Series #1, Spanish-language edition) (ages 6-9)
The Complete Book of Starter Spanish, Grades Preschool-1 (bilingual)
Siempre Te Querre by Robert N. Munsch (ages 6-9)
Corduroy (Spanish-language Edition) by Don Freeman (ages 6-9)
Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Spanish-language edition) by J.K. Rowling (ages 9-12)
La Ciudad de Las Bestias (City of the Beasts, Spanish-language edition) by Isabel Allende (ages 9-12)
Cajas de Carton: Relatos de la Vida Peregrina de uno Nino Campesino (The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, Spanish-language edition) by Francisco Jimenez (ages 9-12)
El Principito (The Little Prince, Spanish-language edition) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (9-12)
Antes de Ser Libres (Before We Were Free, Spanish-language edition) by Julia Alvarez (ages 9-12)
Las Cronicas de Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia, Spanish-language edition) by C. S. Lewis (ages 9-12)
El León, la Bruja y el Ropero (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Spanish-language edition) by C. S. Lewis (ages 9-12)
Junie B. Jones Tiene un Pio Pio en el Bolsillo (Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket, Spanish-language edition) by Barbara Park (ages 9-12)
En el Tiempo de las Mariposas (In The Time of the Butterflies, Spanish-language edition) by Julia Alvarez (teens)
Crepúsculo (Twilight, movie tie-in, Spanish-language edition) by Stephenie Meyer (teens)
De Como las Muchachas Garcia Perdieron el Acento (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Spanish-language edition) by Julia Alvarez (teens)
Matar un Ruisenor (To Kill a Mockingbird, Spanish-language edition) by Harper Lee (teens)
El Dador (The Giver) by Lois Lowry (teens)
El Príncipe Caspian (Prince Caspian) (Spanish-language edition) by C.S. Lewis (teens)
Hermanas (Sisters) (Bilingual Spanish-English edition) by Gary Paulsen (teens)
Marcada (Marked, Spanish-language edition) by P.C. Cast (teens)