Summer Satchels 2010

Today is a Really Good Day.

We got some much-needed rain overnight, a good night’s sleep, some fabulous produce from the Athens Farmers Market this morning……. then I felt a niggling urge to check the thrift stores for books. Which really makes no sense right now, but I went anyway. Scored an elusive “Diary of Wimpy Kid” and 2 just-as-elusive Harry Potter books. $1.50 total. It’s turning into an obsession. I was back home looking at my newly reclaimed dining room table (meaning: not a single book on top of it!) when I saw the mail truck backing up my driveway. When she backs in, I know I’m getting something big.Two Bookmoochers threw in extra books with my order. And I mean lots of extras. I continue to be amazed at – and thankful for – the kindness and generosity of strangers.So yeah, I’m having a really good day. Hope you are too!

By |May 22nd, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Today is a Really Good Day.|

I Want My House Back… NOW.

It’s still hard to move around our house because there are books everywhere. One of the Summer Satchel supporters wrote that she hopes I’m resting up now that it’s all over. I wish! Here’s what’s up:- I’m posting books on BookMooch that the school didn’t think they could use for whatever reason; trying to get my “mooch ratio” back in shape just in case they won’t give me a charity account. Also posting the grown-up books that donors included with the childrens books.- I’m sorting out books in bad shape. The unsalvageable ones are being recycled; those with a little life left will go to Salvation Army. And childrens books have a habit of getting sticky, so I’m cleaning some that were too sticky to hand out.- I’m entering my inventory on Library Thing, to make it easier for the schools (and me) to keep up with what I have. It also gives me a gauge on which books are good; award-winners, highly-rated, etc.- I’m writing (and writing… and writing…) thank you notes. And I know that some of you are going to fall through the cracks and not get one due to poor record-keeping on my part; I just hope to be forgiven!- I’m breaking down boxes, recycling bubble wrap & brown paper, sweeping up packing peanuts, washing clothes, and trying to re-establish order at home.- I’m slowly but surely adding a 5-page wish list from Alps to my Bookmooch wish list, so I can mooch throughout the year.- I’m mulling over all sorts of ideas… moving my “summer satchel” posts to a separate blog; starting a Facebook group; putting together a Christmas satchel [...]

By |May 21st, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on I Want My House Back… NOW.|

The New Wish List

The wish list below is quite different from the school’s official wish list. But the librarian and outreach counselor both said I should focus on anything that gets the kids reading. So here’s a list of what the kids themselves asked for most.I included the numbers I’ll need if I stick with only 1 school for next year. If I make the leap to 2 schools, I’ll update the numbers.If you’re one of the folks who offered to shop the thrift stores for me, or if you just have a large inventory of kids books, this list is short and easy to focus on. I’ll be searching for deals on large lots of each on eBay so don’t bid against me!Series books:Animorphs – 25Captain Underpants – 100+”Coke or Pepsi?” – 25Diary of a Wimpy Kid – 50Goosebumps – 100+Junie B Jones – 100+Magic Treehouse – 50Matt Christopher Sports – 50Pokemon – 50Young Cam Jansen – 50 (regular Cam Jansen is good too, but “young” is for beginners)Also:Kids sports books, especially basketball & footballKids joke booksI noticed the kids automatically gravitated to the series books; some asked for them by name before they even started looking. My heart broke every time a child said “Where’s the Captain Underpants???” and I had to say… “I ran out”.Books to Avoid: (sadly, some of my favorites!)Nancy DrewHardy BoysLittle BearLittle House on the PrairieSpiderwick ChroniclesTime Warp TrioAnything with a drab coverThat’s the short-but-sweet wish list from the kids. Doesn’t spring seem like a great time to clean off your bookshelves? I’m happy to take those books off your hands….

Summer Satchel Action Shots

Yesterday was the big day: Alps rolled out the summer reading program and the students came and shopped for books.It started with organizing the books. Parent volunteers took care of that. There were tables covered in chapter books for the older kids…….. and a separate section for younger kids.Volunteers were stuffing bags with information about the summer reading program.Here’s most of what was in each bag:A list of recommended books, a sheet to tally the number of books read (with prizes listed for each level), a free book offer from Borders, pencils, erasers, a reading journal (where students could record a brief summary about each book), and a brand new book from the Alps Recommended Reading list.We didn’t have time to decorate the bags; next year we’ll order them much earlier and have the kids do the decorating themselves.When each class arrived, Mary would give them a bag and tell them about the summer reading program.Then each student was allowed to choose 2 books to take home (in addition to the new book provided by the school). That’s when the chaos began. The kids were so excited about the books, they swarmed the tables like we were giving away gold. Or candy. It was fun to watch.Kids shopped for books and compared their finds. It was fun to hear them recommending books to each other. The kindergarteners left a path of destruction behind, but it was fun to watch. By the end of the day, it was clear what the students liked and didn’t like.The Goosebumps (85) and Junie B. Jones(94) inventory was completely wiped out and the kids were asking for more. Sports books [...]

By |May 19th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Summer Satchel Action Shots|

Today is the day!

I’m off to hand out books to the kids at Alps Road Elementary. It’s an all-day affair, and I’m so excited to see the kids reactions. I think I’ll learn about which books they like best.I’m still collecting books though. Adopting two schools next year will be a huge ordeal so I’m getting started NOW.Thanks everybody for your help, and another shout out the BookMoochers out there who showered me with free books, 2 for 1 deals, and gift points. To quote my niece: YTB! Melaney(PS: that’s teen-speak for You’re the Best)

By |May 18th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on Today is the day!|

A quick update….

I’ve delivered 1500 books and 200 workbooks (thanks Lori!) to Alps Road Elementary. Tomorrow is the big day!Thanks everybody for feedback on whether or not to hoard my surplus of books. I talked to the Outreach Coordinator at Alps today, and we’ve come up with a tentative plan that will spread the book wealth to other students over the summer and leave plenty for a head start on next year’s program. More on that later. Today when I delivered 2 carloads of books, there were parent volunteers in the library sorting books. I’ve never seen such a sight. Hopefully I’ll get there tomorrow before the kids start selecting books so I can take a “before” picture. And I must admit, I’m looking forward to having my regular life back. I’ve been ordering, sorting, stacking, and boxing books for about 12 hours a day for the last 10 days. It’s been fun, but the laundry isn’t going to wash itself!Stay tuned….

By |May 17th, 2010|Summer Satchels 2010|Comments Off on A quick update….|


No, that’s not a typo. One thousand, seven hundred & eighty-seven books. I still can’t believe it, even as I’m typing. AND – as best I can tell, there’s a potential 150-200 more books en route.I’m trying to decide what to do. What do you think?I could save the books for next year, and have a huge head-start on my goal of adopting two schools. That would make things really easy on me.I could scramble to find another school and get organized. But there are only a few days left before school is out; this would be a tremendous amount of work and I’m already committed to helping at Alps. I’m not sure I can pull this one off.I could give each child at Alps 2 extra books for the summer, but then I’d have to start from zero next year. That will make it hard to adopt an additional school.It’s a tough call but I’m leaning towards option 1. It makes everything easier for me and frankly, I’m exhausted. I’ll be free to help Alps Elementary this coming week, and I’ll start ahead of the game on doubling the number of children who take home “Summer Satchels” next year.Those of you who donated books: what do you think? I want to make the most of your donations and I’m curious what you’d like me to do.


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….