Born in 1904, today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. His children’s books were a burst of stardust, of reading magic, sprinkled into our lives. He made fantasy and rhyme and the wonder of words resonate with children the world over. What a gift and legacy — to positively impact young minds and expand their world through books. But what for the child who has no books?
The people at Bernie’s Book Bank in Chicago have asked that question and answered it.
Founded by Brian Floriani, a former golf professional with the Golf Digest Schools, Bernie’s Book Bank was formed as a tribute to Brian’s late father, Bernie. As a young boy, Bernie grew up with scarce financial means, in a home with no running water. As a young man, Bernie earned his PhD in Reading Education and became the Director of Reading Instruction for the state of Delaware. Through his own transformation, Bernie instilled in his children the importance of reading and education. “Reading is the most important skill you’re ever going to learn,” Floriani said. It is true — when a child holds a book, turns its pages and absorbs the words written on them, his or her world opens and grows into dreams and possibility.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. -Dr. Seuss
Bernie’s Book Bank facilitates the collection, processing and redistribution of new and gently used children’s books to significantly increase book ownership among at-risk children throughout the greater Chicago area. To date, they have distributed more than one MILLION books. By the end of 2013, their goal is to distribute one million more. As for the children who receive these books, “they are all little Bernies,” said Floriani, remembering his father.
As a child, did you have a book in your home? Many books? Did any of the books belong to you? For some children, the answer is no. In fact, studies show 61% of low income families in the United States have zero books in the home.
Bernie’s Book Bank is a well-organized vehicle that kindly and consistently transfers books from giving hands, to the hands of children in need. Currently operating in Chicago, the long range goal for this program is not only continued growth in the greater Chicago area, but to become an American institution, fully functioning in cities nationwide.
Together, corporations, libraries, book stores, schools, community programs and individuals can all contribute to improving the literacy rate, one book and one child at a time.
To learn more about Bernie’s Book Bank, please visit http://www.berniesbookbank.org
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! -Dr. Seuss