By Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director
I don’t know about you, but I have found these past few weeks extraordinarily disheartening.
It is hard to process the news that children — including very young children — have been separated from their families and detained in holding facilities that resemble cages. It is even harder to understand how we got to this point. Our kids — all kids — depend on us adults to do right by them.
This afternoon, I found some solace from the disturbing newsfeed — and I want to share it with you. My solace came from kids themselves.
You may know that May and June are Book Harvest’s busiest months, as we send kids in our Books on Break program home with armfuls of books to help their brains stay “on” during the long weeks of summer. This Books on Break season broke all prior records: a total of 18,742 young readers in 47 schools harvested 102,849 books to take home to read this summer and keep forever. We are tired — and proud!
This year’s Books on Break also brought in an unusually large flood of letters from kids. I picked up a stack of them today and was deeply inspired — by children’s messages sharing their enthusiasm for reading, their excitement over a beloved story, and their utter generosity in sharing their books with loved ones.
And best of all: the second most common word in their letters, after “books”, was the word “love”:
I love my new books. I love to read. I love reading to my baby sister. I love bedtime stories with my dad.
and the one that gets me every time I come across it: I love you.
This reminder of the innate goodness of our young is what I needed. And I am further inspired by the Book Harvest community, a community of unstoppable volunteers and book donors who have big dreams for all kids and who have — time and again — lifted me up with their big hearts and with an unshakeable belief in the vast potential in every child.
I am energized because of what I believe we can accomplish together, with grit, determination, stories — and love.
I am fortified by our kids’ letters — as I am by the 29 Book Babies graduates we awarded diplomas to on June 9th. These spectacular five-year-olds are ready to enter kindergarten with robust vocabularies, sparkling imaginations, loads of empathy, parents who believe in them — and love.
We can emerge into a more literate, humane, caring world, a world that welcomes all of us and does right by our children. I hope our kids’ words remind you of that as they did me today. I am sharing some of them below.
And if you need a boost for your troubled spirits, stop by the Book Harvest office and I will give you some of the letters from kids that we have received. There is no way they won’t lift your spirits.