Books on Break

Books on Break is a partnership between Book Harvest and local schools to transform summer into a time of literacy enrichment. It is a concentrated effort to provide free books to youth in the spring, launching them into the summer break with a large selection of books at home.


Please note: Books on Break 2021 will look different than years past due to COVID-19. However, we are adapting Books on Break as part of our Keep Learning Alive Campaign, which is our response to the unprecedented suspension of in-school learning that children are faced with during the pandemic. Access to books is fundamental to keeping learning alive for every child -- for maintaining and improving reading skills, for finding comfort in a bedtime story, for fueling imaginations during the longer-than-ever break from traditional school.

School success depends on summer

The Books on Break model embodies three core values: choice, quantity, and book ownership. Book Harvest partners with schools to provide books to students just before summer break, traditionally through "free book fairs." These events are set up to enable students choose the books they are interested in even if the books might be below or above their reading level. Students take the books home to keep forever. These books help them retain their academic skills and return to school in the fall ready to learn.

In summer 2019, 16,978 students selected 86,495 books during Books on Break in Durham Public Schools, Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools, Orange County Schools, Bladen, and Columbus counties!

Books on Break 2021 will continue its partnership with local schools by providing them with boxes of books in May. Book Harvest will then support schools in their distribution of the books to their students prior to summer.

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  • Afterschool providers and educators: download the Books on Break toolkit so that you can launch your own summer book giving program.
  • Summer program providers: download the Summer Learning toolkit to help you keep your children learning all summer long, and listen to the webinar introducing and explaining the Summer Counts guide.
  • Read a complete report from summer 2019 here.
UNC-TV’s North Carolina Now covered Books on Break at Glenn Elementary in Durham in June 2015

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