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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

BOB for All!

By Daniele Berman, Communications and Events Manager

No, that’s not the latest campaign slogan for the latest candidate, nor is BOB a person at all, in fact. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: BOB is Book Harvest staff shorthand for Books on Break. So now that you know, I want to tell you a story about how BOB has been showing up in my week.

On Monday evening, I arrived at rehearsal for my band and a bandmate said to me, “I need to show you something.” It was a picture of his son reading the books he had selected that day at BOB. “You guys made this kid’s day,” he told me.

On Tuesday, I arrived at the gym where my daughter does gymnastics, and I saw the mother of one of her classmates. She showed me the books her two kids had excitedly brought home from BOB that day and had been loving ever since.

On Wednesday, I got a text early in the morning from a friend with a picture of her kindergartener devouring a Star Wars book she had gotten at BOB the day before.

And all week, my own daughter has been carrying around the books she selected at BOB instead of putting them on her shelf at home. That’s because her teacher has been taking the class outside in the afternoons to hang out under the tree and read, so she needs to keep her books with her at all times in case of a spontaneous reading session!

This is the power of BOB for all. If BOB were a person with a campaign slogan, it would be something like, “Getting kids excited about summer reading since 2012!” or, “Ensuring books for all — making summer reading a right and not a privilege,” or maybe, “Together we can stop summer slide and help all kids succeed!”

This month, every child in every Durham Public Schools elementary school is having this experience. Every single one. 15,631 students in Durham alone will select 77,133 books. This isn’t about who already has books at home and who doesn’t. This isn’t about whose families will have the capacity for trips to the bookstore this summer and whose families won’t. It’s not about who can afford summer enrichment activities, who has a library card, or who lives near a neighborhood Little Free Library. This is about books everywhere for every child — a summer filled with reading because all kids get to pick books they love and keep them forever.

This is the power of a system-wide initiative. BOB started at one elementary school in 2012, but thanks to our partnership with Durham Public Schools, BOB now shows up in all 30 elementary schools in the district. System-wide, it doesn’t matter which elementary school a child attends: every child is starting summer with the same exciting experience I’ve been hearing about from so many parents in my own personal network.

BOB has been busy making kids’ week — and mine, too. But if you read our post last week, you know that it doesn’t stop this week or even this month. All summer long, we’ll be showing up making sure kids stay excited about reading, making sure they can keep picking out more books they’re excited about, keeping their reading selections fresh so that their reading skills stay fresh, too. Whether they join us for Read-A-Palooza or Wash & Learn Durham; stop by our office or select books in the waiting room at their doctor’s office; come to a storytime or read along with a home visitor, kids in Durham (and throughout the Triangle and beyond, too!) will have access to books all summer long. (Details about all those opportunities are available here.)

So three cheers for BOB — and here’s to a summer filled with happy readers!

(Want to see BOB in action? Sign up to join us as a volunteer, or just check out all the fun tweets schools are sharing as their students are selecting books!)

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