Monthly Archives: May 2010


Nine hundred ninety-three.neuf cent quatre-vingt-treize (that’s for you, Margot)novecientos noventa y tres.Neun hundert dreiundneunzig.That’s how many books are sorted, labeled and bagged for delivery to Alps Road Elementary. Not all of those 993 will be deemed usable by the school, but I think it’s safe at least 800 of them will. I would dance for joy but I’m tired right down to my pinky toe. A special thank you to niece Janey for driving up from Macon to help me. Luv ya JJ!Check it out:Here’s what the labels look like; we put them on the inside of the front cover.I have a lot more to tell you… and more books to count… and more people to thank… but my brain is fried and I’m just too tired. Forgive me, and stay tuned!

Welcome to my weekend….

I have no business blogging right now but I know y’all are craving an update about the books and where things stand. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Here’s 2 days’ worth of unsorted, unopened books. That’s an 8-foot rug, by the way.Welcome to my weekend! Whoever said they felt God was with me on this project, could you send up an urgent prayer that He send help? Quickly?Niece Janey arrives tonight and will help me sort, label and count. And Bayne will finally be free of the endless conference calls and meetings so he’ll pitch in too. Say a prayer, cross your fingers, send positive vibes my way… there’s so much to do I can’t help but laugh when I think about it.

By |May 14th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Welcome to my weekend….|

Still counting….

I think the book tally will have to wait til Friday or Saturday. My intentions are good; my time is non-existent. But last time I forecasted, I had good distribution across grades and was about 200 books short. Since then I’ve had promises of more books, neighbor donations, etc so I’m hoping it works out in the end.Here are today’s highlights:The bags arrived! (Thanks Aunt Linda!) And my camera batteries died, so I couldn’t take pictures. I received about 15 packages in the mail, another neighbor donation, and Gail shopped the Sandy Springs thrift shops and scored 40 more books. Bird has books waiting at her office. Lori has books waiting at her office. Bayne has books waiting at his office.AND: I created labels to put inside the cover. Sadly, I can’t photograph them either but will get a picture up soon; they’re so cute. They’ve got the usual “This Book Belongs to:”, plus in small print at the bottom, the first name, city & state of the person who sent it.Well, in the interest of full disclosure…. I have waaaaay too much on my plate to keep up with the name of each person who sent each book. So I record the first name, city & state of every book I receive, then print labels later and put them on whatever book is handy. Close enough!I took 125 books to Alps today; books I didn’t know how to categorize, so the librarian is going to help. Finally, couldn’t resist stopping by Goodwill now that I know where the workers stash the new books. 12 more books….

Books books books books books books

I can’t get that word out of my head. I think about books books books all day and dream about them at night.Today’s mail delivery was a little bit of a let-down after yesterday’s, but I suspect tomorrow’s will be outta control.Today I had my indentured servant I mean niece MK put a “summer satchel” notice in all my neighbors’ mailboxes (is that illegal?). I don’t know many of my neighbors, and figured I’d be lucky if I got a single book. I left for an Overview Commission meeting, and check out what was waiting for me when I got home.To quote Bayne: “Wow.”AND… today I met with Mary Kelly, my contact at Alps Road Elementary. She’s put together a great plan for the summer satchels. She has a recommended reading list, PLUS a sheet for each student to track the books read over the summer. For every 5 books read, the student earns a reward. There will also be a journal and library card application.I’m still humbled and overwhelmed by the crazy response to this project. As far as a boook count for the day? Sorry folks, but I haven’t done laundry/housework/chores/etc in 5 days. The count will have to wait for tomorrow.In the meantime, here’s a peek at my dining room.Think that doesn’t look like a lotta books? That’s because the “series books” (Harry Potter… Magic Treehouse… Junie B Jones…) are bagged and lined up along what I’m calling The Series Wall.Well, it’s 8pm and the laundry beckons. I’ll count some books tomorrow (I hope!) and let you know where things stand.

By |May 11th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Books books books books books books|

Monday Mail Delivery

I really didn’t think any books would arrive today. I was wrong. 18 packages…. can’t wait to open them.

Hurry up and wait!

The suspense is killing me, but all I can do right now is hurry up and wait. Books are crossing the country via US Mail and there’s not much I can do til they get here.I struck out at the Goodwill bookstore in Macon. My budget doesn’t allow $1.99 per book! But, Mary H. left a box of books at mom’s house and when I got home, another box of books AND 1,000 pencils were sitting in front of the garage door. Thanks Mary & Leigh!Today, a new development I never saw coming: a couple of BookMoochers are searching for books on their own, using their own points to mooch the books, then having the books shipped to me. Wow. Once again, I’m blown away by the kindness of strangers. Here’s hoping some books start arriving in the mail today; surely by tomorrow?? The suspense is killing me. I’m nervous… excited… hopeful… thrilled. While we’re waiting, here’s a sad-but-hopeful piece of news for you: I started the summer satchel program last year after learning about a second-grader at Alps Elementary who loved to read but didn’t own a single book. She loved her summer satchel! That sweet little girl is now living in a homeless shelter. But she’s getting 3 meals a day, which is an improvement and will help a lot. She hopes to be a pediatrician. She doesn’t know the odds are stacked against her. I want to change the odds. Clearly a lot of you do, too. It matters… keep the books coming.

By |May 10th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Hurry up and wait!|

Book Count – Day 3.5

Never got around to taking a tally this morning, and now the day is almost over. If 100% of the books I’m expecting actually show up and are usable, I’ll have roughly 600 books. I can’t count the books my friends, family, and even complete strangers are collecting for me in other cities til I actually receive them.So basically, I have no idea how many books I’ll have this Friday. Will I come up short when the smoke clears, or will I be ahead of my goal and have extras for next year?I took an inventory by grade, and I’m pretty well distributed across all the grades. Miracle.This week I’ll hit thrift stores in Macon and Atlanta. It’s going to be a crazy week. And can you imagine the packages arriving from around the country? I’ll take pictures when the books come rolling in mid-week.For now, I’m cross-eyed… and taking the evening off.OH! For my veggie friends… you know it’s bad when I don’t have the energy to post Tuesday’s CSA loot… Friday’s fresh strawberries… and today’s take from the first Athens Farmer’s Market of the season. I know you feel incomplete without seeing my groceries; fear not, I took pictures.

By |May 8th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Book Count – Day 3.5|

Blown away by the kindness of strangers.

I was awake but still in bed this morning when Bayne said “You’re thinking about your books, aren’t you?”Well, yes and no. I was thinking about the people helping me with the books. How could I not be thinking about them?A coworker of my sister’s is hitting an Atlanta thrift sale for me today. The owner of a chain of thrift stores in Texas is scouring her stores for books on my wish list. A woman in France bought books online and had them shipped because her own books wouldn’t reach me in time. A teacher in south Georgia not only boxed up a big load of books, she posted the project online somewhere… so now I get emails from strangers who have boxed up books for me and just need my address. A woman in Atlanta sent me a check for $100 – talk about trust!And the BookMooch points… I’ve gotten 200+ books, completely free, due to the kindness of BookMoochers who donated points.Complete strangers, all of them. I have many more stories like this one. Enough to leave me gobsmacked and boondoggled by the kindness of strangers. It’s having a wonderful effect on my project… and on me.And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention friends and family. My sister is rallying troops in Atlanta and there’s no telling what she’ll come up with. My mom donated her entire lot of BookMooch points. A friend from college is supplying pencils and erasers for the student journals. My aunt is supplying 400 bags so the students can carry their loot. Friends from high school, college, work… people I [...]

By |May 7th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Blown away by the kindness of strangers.|

Book Count – End of Day 2

I hit every Athens thrift store. BookMooch members came through in a big way. I bought large book lots on eBay but the quality is uncertain. I have promises of books from friends and family but no idea how many books that will be, or for what ages.So the book count is complicated today. Let me break it down for you:200 Books I’ve Recieved130 En Route, from BookMooch members50 En Route, from eBay (books I know to be good)150 En Route, from eBay (massive lots of unidentified childrens books… but dirt cheap!)If every one of those books arrives on time, is in good condition, age-appropriate, and deemed acceptable by the school, I could have as many as 530 books. Can you believe that? In less than 48 hours.BUT: to be safe, I’m assuming only half of the dirt-cheap eBay lot will be usable, and that 20 of the BookMooch books won’t get here in time. So in my head, my “real” count is 435.Today and tomorrow my focus will be on double-checking the age ranges for the books, to make sure there’s no class that’s under-represented. It would be quite a bummer to have 800 books on hand, but none appropriate for 5th graders, wouldn’t it? I’ll also tally my spending; hopefully I’m still in the I’ve grabbed all the low-hanging fruit. The remaining 400 books are going to have to come from friends, out-of-town thrift stores, or some other place I haven’t thought of. Any ideas?

Shout out to BookMooch members!

A special thanks this morning to all the BookMooch members who have come through for the Summer Satchel project. Members have donated credits so I could mooch books, and members with books have given me 2-for-1 deals so my credits would last longer. A few are just mailing me free books and not asking for credits. Wow!I’ve got 40 books coming from BookMooch so far, and I haven’t even finished ordering. I’m so grateful for all the support – from complete strangers – and it will be fun to tell the kids how far some of the books traveled to reach them.Thank you, BookMooch members!June, 2010 Update: By the time the book drive was over, BookMooch members had contributed hundreds of books. A final count is impossible. Point donations, 3 for 1 deals, free books… I’m amazed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!