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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

70,389 Children’s Books for 14,208 Students!

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Book Harvest Provides 70,389 Children’s Books to 14,208 Students In Thirty-Five Schools Across Four Counties


May 25, 2023, Durham, NC: Book Harvest successfully wrapped up Books on Break 2023, providing 14,208 students in 35 public pre-kindergarten and elementary schools with 70,389 books. Books on Break ran from May 4 through May 22, reaching every student in 30 Durham Public Schools, along with schools and Pre-K sites in Columbus, Bladen, and Guilford Counties.

Launched in 2012, Books on Break is a beloved and joyful tradition that enables students to build their home libraries and practice their reading skills over the summer months. Students are invited to select brand new books from a wide array of diverse and high-interest titles in both English and Spanish; students take these books home to read over the summer and keep forever.


When asked why Books on Break is important, one fifth grader at Lakewood Elementary in Durham said, “If you read books, you’ll be better at math and every subject!” A fellow student shared the enthusiasm, declaring, “This is the best day ever because I like books and because I like to read books at home!”


Teachers and media coordinators were overjoyed by the program. One teacher commented, “This is my second year of Book Harvest. It is the absolute best program ever! Some of our students do not have access or transportation to go to the county libraries and are not in a print rich environment at home. Book Harvest gives my students the opportunity to start their libraries at home or add to them. They were so excited when they walked in and saw all the choices and knew they could pick any 10 for themselves!”

Tabitha Blackwell, Book Harvest Durham’s Executive Director, shared, “Books on Break 2023 provided Durham Public Schools students with 63,559 books – the essential tools for practicing reading over the long weeks of summer. The success we have achieved in partnership with Durham Public Schools is an aspiration we hold for every child: that they are equipped with high-quality, high-interest reading materials to help them practice reading and retain their hard-won gains until they return to the classroom in the fall. All children learning to read deserve these tools. Here in Durham, we have shown that this critical building block of a child’s school success can be delivered across an entire school system!”


Books on Break 2023 was made possible by generous contributions from the Bastian Family Charitable Foundation; Duke Energy Foundation; F.M. Kirby Foundation; Fox Family Foundation; North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; Oak Foundation; Ready for School, Ready for Life; The Grable Foundation; The Leon Levine Foundation; Triangle Community Foundation; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; United Way of the Greater Triangle; Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; and many individual supporters.

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