May 27, 2021
By Benay Hicks, Communications Manager
Book Harvest’s Books on Break initiative provides free books to children just before summer break so that the joy of reading, the delight in book ownership, and the retention of literacy skills can be maintained throughout the year. In previous years (2012-2019), participating schools hosted large, free book fairs filled with Book Harvest books. Children were able to choose and harvest multiple books to take home and keep forever. For obvious reasons, Books on Break ceased to happen in 2020 and Book Harvest instead launched a year-long rapid response effort to keep learning alive.
After pressing pause in 2020, Book Harvest brought Books on Break back in 2021 with an adapted pandemic-safe version. In lieu of book fairs, Book Harvest partnered with the staff at DPS Bacon Street warehouse to deliver boxes of culturally inclusive, age-appropriate books to ten Durham Public Schools (shout-out to Ralph France, Director of Custodial Services). These schools received enough books to supply their entire student body with up to 5 books per student. An additional 13 DPS schools received personal book deliveries from Book Harvest staff and volunteers. These schools received enough books to supply their study body with up to 3 books per student.
Altogether, Book Harvest delivered 40,045 books to 23 Durham Public Schools, providing books to 11,510 students!
Those numbers are staggering, hopeful, and exciting. Thousands of students are going home for the summer with multiple books to read and enjoy, keeping their brains active and engaged during their time away from school. Book Harvest’s Learning Partnerships Manager, Amy Franks, coordinated the effort this year. She was assisted by Caitlyn Bergmann, our Book Bank Manager, and a slew of volunteers.
Books on Break has concluded for 2021, but If you’d like to request books for your event, organization, or classroom, please fill out the form here. You can also stop by and select children’s books for the little ones in your life from our outdoor bookshelves, available 24/7 (2501 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707).