Award-Winning ‘Book Bank’ Program Returns

Donations Needed For Upcoming Winter Break

Renita Shaw marvels at how Homeport’s “Bright Ideas Book Bank” program has helped her 7-year-old grandson Jahleel.

The ‘Book Bank’ program was designed to help Homeport student residents retain learning skills and knowledge over school breaks by offering them age appropriate, culturally and character diverse books.

But Shaw, a Whittier Landing resident, says Jahleel’s spelling and reading skills accelerated with access to novels “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung Fu Cavemen From the Future,” and “The Buddha’s Diamonds.”

“He’s an A in spelling. And he’s reading above his age group with the help of this program,” Shaw says.

Bright Ideas Book Bank was created by Homeport in 2013. More than 2,000 new books were provided to more than 400 children thanks to community cash donations and purchases of books for winter break 2013 and spring break 2014.

This fall, Homeport received the 2014 Literacy Leader Award from the Ohio Educational Library Media Association for Book Bank. The American Association of School Librarians awarded a “Certificate of Commendation” to Homeport, as well, for Book Bank.

But that was then and a new round of new books or cash donations to purchase books is needed to keep up the literacy effort.

“Our kids are counting on us. These books, purchased or donated new, really do make a difference in their lives, long term,” said Morgen Wade, Manager of Volunteer Engagement at Homeport.  “Independent studies have shown a direct correlation between reading, education advancement and economic prosperity. Students who read well are just better prepared to deal with challenges.”

Students and their parents will be receiving brochures advising them of the choices available for the Winter Break. Individuals who wish to purchase specific books for the program should visit the Amazon.com link http://amzn.com/w/1DA6BZQDTMXJ0. Donations to purchase books can also be made at http://www.homeportohio.org/bookbank

Several organizations have already committed funds or to fund-raising for the program, including $1,000 from Target. Starbucks will be soliciting support at 12 of its stores. EMH&T, engineers, surveyors, planners and scientists, will be conducting a corporate drive as will real estate law firm Fishel Haas Kim Albrecht.

The 76 books available to Homeport children for the 2014 winter break were selected based on research provided by the Young Adult Library Association and input from children who participated previously in the Book Bank program.

Popular recommendations from the children include:

  • Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not So Fabulous life
  • 11 Birthdays
  • If I Stay
  • The Fault In Our Stars
  • The Hunger Games (Book 1)

Book Bank offerings begin at ages 0-2 with three offerings including “First 100 Words,” a board book by Roger Priddy. For three to five year olds, choices include Jon Stone’s “The Monster at the End of this Book.” There are six choices for six year olds including Mo Willems’ “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.” Book choices exist for individual ages 6 to 11. They are grouped together for ages 12-14, 15-16 and 17-18.

What is clear is that children who have received new books through Book Bank know how sedate they could become without books to read on their break. “I’d be watching TV and sleeping,” said Kacie Gravely, a fourth grade student in Pheasant Run.

(Individuals or organizations interested in learning more about or supporting the Bright Ideas Book Bank are encouraged to contact Morgen Wade, Homeport’s Manager of Volunteer Engagement, at morgen.wade@homeportohio.org.)