On Saturday, November 14th, the holiday season officially kicked off for FLOC students as they were able to take home as many free books as they could carry (with the help of parents and tote bags). FLOC held its 9th Annual Book Festival, which aims to further foster a love of reading by growing our students’ libraries. Thanks to the hard work and generous donations of partners, we were able to offer almost 1,500 books to our students. In addition to the book giveaway, Karen Legget Abouraya, author of Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words, spoke to students about the importance of education and fighting for what’s important. Inspired by Malala’s courage to fight for her right to an education, students made pledges about what they will stand up for. After the presentation, students were given their own copy of Warrior with Words and were able to meet the author to have her sign their copy.
The PBS Kids character Super Why, who has students use their reading comprehension skills to solve mysteries, also made an appearance to meet and take pictures with the students. PBS local affiliate WHUT brought along iPads for students to try out new reading apps, which allowed students to have fun while also improving their reading skills.
In the book room, students filled up their WHUT tote bags with as many books as they wanted, with many students getting so excited that they needed extra bags to hold them all. Staff members and volunteers were on hand to give book recommendations to curious students, using the opportunity to reflect on their favorite books from childhood. From Dr. Seuss to Diary of a Wimpy Kid to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, kids of all ages were able to either start or grow their own personal library.
FLOC could not have held this event without the support of our sponsors, Alderson Court Reporting, Reingold LINK, and Sedgwick LLP. Additional support was provided by our generous hosts, the Pepco Edison Place Gallery and by PBS affiliate WHUT. We also are thankful to WHUT for bringing Super Why, iPads with reading apps, and tote bags for the students to take their books home in.
Lastly, we want to give an additional thank you to all those who donated the 1,500 books that we were able to give away. All of our event sponsors listed above held book drives to contribute, as did the Advisory Board Company and SIGAL Construction Companies. Additional books were provided by First Book, Friends of George Mason Regional Library, and by individual board members and friends of the organization. Many thanks to all for helping make this event a success!
(Lauren Phipps is the Curriculum Coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program.)