Groucho Marx once said: â€œOutside of a dog, a book is a manâ€™s best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.â€
This month you can simultaneously honor Grouchoâ€™s memory and help the East Bay Childrenâ€™s Book Project celebrate National Literacy Month.
Hereâ€™s how: If you have new and gently used childrenâ€™s books that you no longer need, you can give them to us to pass on to children who otherwise wouldnâ€™t have access to reading materials.
If you are a teacher or other professional who works with underprivileged children, please take advantage of our services. Books are available free of charge every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, at 2008 Park Blvd.
If you enjoy childrenâ€™s literature and have some free time during the week, join our volunteer team â€” collecting, counting, sorting and distributing books.
In its first year of operation, the East Bay Childrenâ€™s Book Project has given away more than 47,000 books. Our clients include teachers, social workers, health care professionals and volunteers who work with children.
More than 90 Oakland teachers visited the book project last month. Typical reactions: â€œThis is awesome.â€ â€œWe canâ€™t thank you enough.â€ â€œWe will be back soon.â€
One of our many repeat â€œcustomersâ€ is Ann Daniels of the Oakland Libraryâ€™s Second Start program. Ann and a big contingent of volunteers work not with children, but with illiterate adults. One thousand books received from the East Bay Childrenâ€™s Book Project now allow Second Start to give their adult students books they can take home and, for the first time, read to their own children.
Rick Burrows, Healthy Start Specialist at Tiburcio Vasquez Pediatric Clinic, says, â€Thanks again for the opportunity to participate. I have been going through the books this morning at my office. It is like Christmas or a birthday or Chanuka. It is so cool to put these books out and know that families will be doing something together while they wait for their visit with the Doc.â€ Last week, a 10-year-old Hispanic girl very carefully organized the book shelves while her brother was being examined. She couldnâ€™t believe it when Rick offered to let her choose some books and kept saying, â€œA casa, mi casa?â€ She had never owned a book before.
Judy Monnier, from the Oakland Housing Authority, which has distributed some 20,000 books over a four year period, was so grateful for an infusion of new books, she literally waxed poetic:
A Thank You to the Childrenâ€™s Book Project
For low income families, just making ends meet,
Free books for their children are really a treat
After four years and 20,000 books given,
A quest for new resources had to begin,
So sad that empty bookcase staring at me,
Only one book here, canâ€™t you see?
So to my keyboard I flew
Found in that cyber world, a fairy tale come true!
So close and so helpful, so organized and generous,
Itâ€™s great to have the Childrenâ€™s Book Project among us,
Times are desperate and streets can be vile,
But books can help children live life with a smile.
Please contact the Childrenâ€™s Book Project at 510-433-0412 to donate cash or books or offer your services as a volunteer. If youâ€™re in need of books, we look forward to seeing you any Tuesday or Thursday afternoon.