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Milk + Bookies: A Story Time Celebration

March 15, 2013

Today, I thought it would be fun to highlight a terrific book-themed non profit and their annual Story Time Celebration, an event held last weekend that I was lucky to get to attend. Milk + Bookies is a nationwide charitable organization that inspires children to give back, using books as its currency. At Milk + Bookies events, boys and girls are provided the opportunity to select, purchase and inscribe books that are then donated to their peers who do not have access to books of their own. The events take place at homes, in schools and libraries, in stores, during birthday parties and for scout projects. Milk + Bookies combines two essential and worthwhile efforts: literacy promotion and service learning. As the organization says, “While the book donations are imperative to our mission, just as important is instilling the seed of giving into each host and their young guests, sparking feelings of importance, self-confidence and the desire to give and give again.” It’s a fantastic organization, and when my daughter turned five, we planned our own Milk + Bookies party for her (which I posted about here) and asked her friends to bring books to donate in lieu of gifts.

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Each spring, Milk + Bookies hosts their annual fundraiser, the Story Time Celebration. This year, they sold out 1000 tickets and donated 2700 books to Operation School Bell. In addition to being successful, the event was so much fun. Picture books were read aloud by a stellar list of celebrities, including Julie Bowen, Max Greenfield, Adam Scott, Don Cheadle, Ginnifer Goodwin, plus (more interesting for the hundreds of kids in attendance) book characters like Captain Hook.

My kids enjoyed the various book crafts that Little Junebugs helped create, including making book flowers from pages of books that were donated, decorating old book covers with characters, making pom pom bookmarks and decorating tiny birds covered in paper mache book pages. But most of all, they loved the book donation room. Parents purchased books at a nominal cost that the kids were then able to stick personalized book plates into, writing their names as the donors. When Norah dropped her books into the huge donation trunk and received her donor pin, she had a huge smile of pride on her face.

As a book lover and someone who works with children’s books and bookstores, it’s so exciting to see one thousand people gathering to celebrate books, reading and literacy. And though I admit I was starstruck by the celebrities in attendance, I loved seeing them like the rest of the parents at the event, sitting in tiny chairs with their kids, crafting and inscribing messages in books. I was also amazed by the animal statues and little book house made out of old book pages. I don’t know who made them but they were true works of art!

This year, Milk + Bookies has started awarding the Bookies Bravo Award to children’s books that inspire kids to help others, and we’re pleased to hear that Boy + Boy by Dan Yaccarino, a Random House book we all love, is on the list of winners due to its themes of friendship and kindness.

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milk and bookies craft

For more information on Milk + Bookies, including how you, your school, library or bookstore can host your own donation event, check out their website.

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