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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Free books for kids

Madison and Meredith Hanks
Madison and Meredith Hanks.

A member of St. John Lutheran Church, Warren, Pa., started “Free Books for Kids Town” two years ago. Ruby Wiles (rmwiles@ymail.com) based the organization on research indicating that two keys in helping children become better readers are their ability to select books that interest them and being able to keep books to read again and again.

Free Books for Kids Town has given away more than 7,000 books by placing them in crates in stores and nonprofit agencies. “In our rural county many children don’t have books in their homes,” Wiles said, adding that many can’t walk to a public library because of the distance from their homes.

On Sept. 8, the ELCA’s “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, Wiles gave away books at her congregation.

It costs $5 to distribute a book through the program (a bookplate acknowledges the giver). Classrooms can be sponsored for $125; entire schools for between $200 and $2,000. Wiles hopes the organization catches on in other communities.


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