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What’s Happening

A Child Shall Lead Them

By General, What's Happening

Tanvi Padala, a rising 8th grader at McKamy Middle School in Flower Mound, Texas, LOVES to read! Nancy Drew mysteries, The Vanderbeeker’s series, Wonder, Aru Shah and the End of Time, Allies by Alan Gratz and most recently, the Hunger Games series. Do you recognize some of her favorites?

When Milissa Vo, the school librarian and Literature Club teacher, told Tanvi and her fellow students about Book Drive for Kids and proposed to join the Share A Book campaign. Tanvi jumped right in. She was saddened when she learned that other children in her community did not have access to the plethora of books she has enjoyed throughout her childhood. Mrs. Vo led the Literature Club to donate 595 books during the Spring semester in honor of World Book Day. “It gives me immense happiness when I think about the smiles these books will put on so many children’s faces,” said Tanvi.

As Tanvi thought about summer activities, she wanted to challenge herself. She also wanted to make some kind of difference. How many books could she gather during the summer by herself? She started talking to friends and neighbors and collected 1,078 books!! “Through my book drive, I learned that we can all change the world with small acts of kindness.”

Book Drive for Kids congratulates Tanvi on this amazing accomplishment; but more importantly, her efforts demonstrate a choice to pursue kindness and thoughtfulness. These skills will return many dividends to her as well as the children who receive these books.

For more information about conducting your own book donation drive or volunteering with Book Drive for Kids, visit their website at HOME – Book Drive for Kids or email

Mission Impossible?

By General, What's Happening

The summer blockbuster Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 introduces an artificial intelligence villain that worms its way through our digital world. And when I say our “digital world,” I literally mean every last nook and cranny – GPS, driving records, airline manifests, traffic cameras … even secure documents that should be unhackable. I’m not trying to throw out too many spoilers here, but the Al is so intuitive and powerful that it changes the facial features in Luther’s facial recognition tracking and the audio in Ethan’s earpiece. He hears Benji telling him to go right to escape the villains chasing him, but in reality, Benji is screaming to go left! The Al program infects the Department of Defense, which forces them to enlist hundreds of typists who now must use manual typewriters to transcribe intelligence records so that the Al enemy cannot change them.

Wow! I don’t know about you, but just reading that over again makes me incredibly glad this is just a movie!

Surely, Ethan and his IMF team will save us all from this massive ordeal when Part Two comes out. That said, watching this movie challenged me on so many levels to contemplate the power of technology, Al, and to what extent we can trust digital information. Furthermore, it prompted me to think about the books and stories I have read and loved over the years and what it might be like if I only had these books on a digital device and an outside source decided to “update” the information without my knowledge!

The old-fashioned girl in me is grateful for the physical books that line my shelves! Anytime I want to refresh my memory on historical facts or visit quotes from an old literary character, I can reach for that information in my printed book. I suppose this sentimentality for paper books is part of my comfort, but I know I’m not alone. Studies show the smell of old books can trigger warm feelings and memories in most readers. And I’m not just speaking about us grown-ups. While eBooks and digital readers have made reading more accessible (as long as the device is charged and you have a subscription), children still prefer physical books when reading for pleasure. Additionally, multiple studies show that recall, comprehension, and reflection are stronger when reading with a physical book or article. This is true whether we are reading to learn or reading for fun.

There is genuine concern among educators and psychologists that pushing children to read on devices is actually promoting distractibility when the objective should be to develop the ability to focus on a longer text to be able to stop and to reflect without skimming or moving on too quickly. Devices are designed to be highly stimulating and can lead to overstimulation, especially in young brains. Scholastic reports that by age 9, children are reading less than in previous generations. Children who don’t read lose the knowledge, empathy, curiosity, and imagination built by reading great books. While more affluent families may be able to compensate for some of these skills by additional experiences (vacations, greater social network, etc.), we know that low-income children NEED access to books so they can “visit places and meet new people” without leaving their homes.

At Book Drive for Kids, we distribute printed books to disadvantaged children because we believe in the power of holding a book in your hand and reading it yourself or with others. No matter how old you are, where you grew up, or even what language you speak, if strangers or friends have read the same book, they share a common bond and have something to discuss. Books build bridges to shared experiences, real and imagined.

With over 105,000 children living in poverty in Dallas alone, it seems like a Mission Impossible to help them build a bridge to an abundant life. Reading well is a huge part of that task, which is one of the many reasons Book Drive for Kids is here to allow them to choose books to enrich their lives. Besides the academic benefits, we see intangible benefits – the smiles, hugs, and bright eyes – at every free event! The low-income children we serve love to read but have few, if any, books in their homes.

Together, we can change that fact and transform our communities.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (see what I did there), is to extend the gift of a book wrapped in hope with Book Drive for Kids.

Get involved today!


This Is Why I Will Happily Compete in Book Drive for Kids’ Adult Spelling Bee Every Year

By Fundraising, What's Happening

This Is Why I Will Happily Compete in Book Drive for Kids’ Adult Spelling Bee Every Year

By Steve Gamel

I must admit I was a little apprehensive when Book Drive for Kids’ Co-Founder and Executive Director Michelle Cook asked me if I’d compete in their inaugural Adult Spelling Bee on March 4. Don’t get me wrong; I am all about stepping up for a local charity — especially if that charity’s mission is to get books into the hearts and homes of needy children. 

Not to mention, I’m a writer and editor by trade! Independent reading … writing … grammar … spelling … literacy … these are my JAM.

But competing in a spelling bee?! Standing in front of all those people — most of whom know what I do for a living? That’s pressure — even for an Uber-competitive person like me. I don’t think I’ve been in a spelling bee since the 3rd grade, but like most people I know in this community, it’s really hard to say “no” to Michelle. She and fellow BDK co-founder Nicol Klingenstein are the sweetest people. They’re in this for the right reasons, and as I learned about their history, mission, and plans for the future, saying “yes” was a no-brainer. 

Full disclosure: My team didn’t win. 

Also, full disclosure: I spelled all my words correctly!

But I’m here to tell you that I will absolutely do this again next year — and the year after that, and the year after that, and so on.

Why? Because it doesn’t matter who wins an adult spelling bee. Sure, it was fun getting up there and watching everyone (myself included) spell words like acquiesce, inexhaustible, amphibious, cinnamon, archaic, remembrance, etc., off the top of their heads. But the real winners from an event like that are the kids. The event hauled in $13,900, including a $3,500 grant from the Elk’s National Foundation. That’s huge, as the money raised will support future free book fairs and other initiatives. The organization has interacted with nearly 20,000 children at free book fairs this school year alone. Since 2017, they’ve donated over 150,000 books to nearly 66,000 students at nearly 100 events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and their reach extends to places like Austin, Houston, and South Texas.

I could tell immediately that all 120 people in attendance that night at Elk’s Lodge in Grapevine believed in what Book Drive for Kids was doing. And just like me, they’ll be back — and they’ll bring more friends, too.

So, Who Won the Adult Spelling Bee?

The adult spelling bee pitted six sponsored teams of three against each other for the championship and other top honors. There were two flights, with the winning team from each flight squaring off in the title round later that evening. 

When the dust settled, Spelling Bee Bee 556 (Lois Kim, Mike Kirkpatrick, and Jessie Nair) won the event after narrowly edging the Hip-Bees (Lanette Frost, Melissa Cheshier, and Ashley Williams) in the finals. Third place went to Highway to Spell (Steve Gamel, Crystal Foster, and Buddy Bonner), which won the “Most Fans” award. The Gatsby Grammarians (Sydney Stauffer, Brad Deitzen, and Äugenae Davenport) won the “Best Costume” award.

Team sponsors included BbK Services 556, Regions Bank, Mantiki Solutions, LLC, ResponsiveEd, Swag Angels, and Puro Clean.

Look Out for Information on Next Year’s Event!

If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year, the good news is that Book Drive for Kids is already working on a follow-up event for next year.  I even joked with Michelle at a meeting a few days later that she may need to find a bigger venue in the years to come — to which we both said, “That would be a great problem to have.” As usual, the stakes next year will be higher, the laughs will be side-splitting, and the opportunity to get more books into kids’ hands in Denton County and beyond will be plentiful.

Thanks for reading!

For more information, including ways to donate, volunteer, or participate in next year’s adult spelling bee, visit


Usborne Books & More Virtual Book Fair

By What's Happening

Hello Friends and Supporters,

Our Virtual Book Fair with Usborne Books & More benefitting Book Drive for Kids is happening again and it starts today!

When you purchase books through Usborne Books & More, not only are you purchasing quality books for children, but 50% of your retail purchase helps our organization to earn free books to use in our free book fairs for kids in underserved areas.  Whether you purchase books for your family and friends or you purchase books to donate, Book Drive for Kids will earn additional books for free.

How does this work? Since it’s a Virtual Book Fair, you shop online.

  1. Use this link to access the website:
  2. Click the “Shop” button. If prompted, be sure to select the “Book Drive 4 Kids 2022” event so that we will get credit for your purchase.
  3. Shop for books, puzzles, or activities. Add your selections to the cart.
  4. Add your customer information and shipping information to your cart
  5. Add your payment

That’s it! If you choose to do so, you may ship your donated books directly to us at Book Drive for Kids, Attention: Michelle Cook, 1301 Water’s Ridge, Lewisville, TX 75057

Due to shipping inflation, Usborne Books & More recently changed their shipping rates. The good news is that the more you purchase, the lower your shipping rate. Please view the details below:

If you missed participating last year, please consider shopping this week. Shop early for the holidays while benefiting Book Drive for Kids! We are grateful for your support!

Bringing New Stories to “Book Deserts”

By What's Happening One Comment

When Book Drive for Kids learned that over 60% of Dallas and Tarrant county children live in “child care deserts”, we knew we had to help.

What is a “child care desert?” It is particular zip codes and/or counties where there are not enough seats at high-quality child care centers for the number of children of working parents. Parents are forced to make the difficult decision of not working outside the home or utilizing an inferior child care situation. This results in children ill-prepared for kindergarten and/or families suffering economic hardship because a parent can’t work or get further training. Here is where Child Care Group comes alongside these families by providing subsidized child care and mentoring in creating rich learning environments in the home.

Since 2020, Book Drive for Kids has partnered with Child Care Group by providing books to their families and child care centers. The cost of quality children’s books is expensive. Replacing lost or damaged books increases operating costs at a child care center and takes valuable funds away from other costs, like teacher wages.

We appreciate the families of Primrose Schools in Denton county who regularly donate pre-school books, both new and gently-used, for us to share with other preschool children, like those at Child Care Group, Lillie L Jackson Early Childhood Center in Lewisville, and the Ann Widdle Preschool and Gonzalez Preschool in Denton.

With your financial support, we can continue to support these families and child care centers with additional books to bolster learning for our most vulnerable assets – the young children of North Texas.


Muchas Gracias!!

By What's Happening No Comments


Book Drive for Kids returned to Life School-Oak Cliff with a free book fair. Our volunteers were so excited because this was one of the first campuses we held an event at back in 2017! COVID kept us out last year, but we returned!!!

One of the blessings of Regions Bank’s and Reading is Fundamental’s sponsorship of this event is the beautiful bi-lingual books we are able to offer. Additionally, Frogstreet Press donated readers from their pre-school curriculum written in Spanish. Each student took home two books, including fairy tales, Pete the Cat, National Geographic Animal books, and more that tell fun and engaging stories in both English and Spanish.

Ms. Green shared these comments,

“Good afternoon. I wanted to take a second to tell you how incredibly thankful my class and I are for our free books! My kindergarten class is a bilingual class of 8 boys and 10 girls. Books that are in Spanish print are hard to come by. You gave each of my students a free book and it is in Spanish Print! Please thank Regions Bank and your other sponsors know that Casa Green loves to read and we send a huge THANK YOU!”

Isabel Green
Bilingual Kindergarten
Life School Oak Cliff

Thank you to our special donors at Regions Bank and Frogstreet Press as well as our volunteers who shared their day to create this fun and educational opportunity available to our community! To find out how you can Change A Life With A Book, visit our website.



Kickoff ‘20-’21

By General, What's Happening

2020 is a year for the record books for Book Drive for Kids! Not just because we have survived a world-wide pandemic but because in the middle of COVID-19, we set all kinds of records. 

  • 9,660 kids were able to select a book of their choice
  • 10,950 books were given away to children and classroom libraries
  • 23 Free Bookfairs were held across the state of Texas
  • $10,000 gift (the biggest ever received!) from Regions Bank
  • 26 volunteers accomplished all of these mile markers

No doubt, 2020 has been one of the most turbulent years in recent history, yet when you read the Community Impact Statement of Book Drive for Kids, we know that the spirit to care for one another is alive and well! Perhaps now, more than ever, we appreciate the simple things, like a book, a friend, and a smile.  These are the very “things” that make Book Drive for Kids so special. We are a community of friends sharing a book and a smile in hopes of making new friends!

On Friday, October 16, donors, volunteers, and guests joined together to celebrate the accomplishments of this past year and look forward to expanding our initiatives in Denton County. We celebrated Regions Bank’s gift of $10,000, which provided the matching portion of a grant from Reading is Fundamental, opening up almost 6,000 NEW books for our free book fairs. This gift provides almost full funding to our base operations in Dallas county.   

The Challenge to our Denton County friends 

In the cities of Denton, Lewisville, and Flower Mound, there are eleven schools whose student population is 70% economically disadvantaged.  Additionally, 30-50% of the students in several of these schools have not yet passed the English proficiency test. These children are our neighbors. We shop at Walmart and Kroger together. Yet, unlike many Denton county homes, these children have few, if any, books in their homes. For these families, the purchase of a book is a luxury purchase. How can they build the vocabulary they need to achieve success at school when they lack books at home?

Book Drive for Kids is here to help overcome these obstacles. YOU can play an integral part!

We are seeking donations of new and gently-used children’s books as well as monetary donations so that we can bring free book fairs to each and every one of these schools.

At the Kickoff ‘20-’21, our generous donors fully funded a free bookfair for Central Elementary to be held this Spring. Other donors gifted books so Lillie Jackson’s Early Childhood Center could hold their fair.  That’s two schools down, 9 more to go.

How can you get involved?

When each of us does our part, together we can spared hope, love, and laughter to the children in our community!

Belk’s Charity Sale

By Support, What's Happening No Comments

When you purchase a Belk’s Charity Ticket for a $5 donation to Book Drive for Kids, you can spend $1 twice!


Your donation of $5 for a Belk’s Charity Sale ticket goes directly to purchasing books for our free book fairs. Then on November 9th, Belk will redeem that ticket for $5 off any purchase during the Belk’s Charity Sale at any Belk stores. During this sale, they offer some of their best prices all year long, many even better than Black Friday sales.
Belk Charity Sale tickets are available NOW with any $5 donation on our website or from a Book Drive for Kids Ambassador. We will be in-store selling tickets at the Flower Mound location at 5801 Long Prairie Road on the following dates:

Sunday, October 27 from 2-4pm
Saturday, November 2 from noon – 2pm
Saturday, November 9 from 10-11am

Plan a group shopping trip by gifting some of your favorite people with a ticket and spending them together on November 9th at Belk’s. What a great way to start your Christmas shopping and spend time together while benefitting the 8,000 children who will browse the book tables at a Book Drive for Kids’ free book fair this year.

YOU make it all possible!

Book Drive for Kids Used Book Sale – Saturday, June 1st from 9am-2pm

By What's Happening No Comments

We have completed the 2018-19 year with a record number of books given away and donations!
Some books have been donated that are not appropriate for Book Drive for Kids Free Book Fairs. These include adult books, textbooks, books with wear and tear or writing in them that can not be covered. Teachers at Title One or ResponsiveEd schools can get 5 free books with their teacher ID.

Support a great cause! Come shop Book Drive for Kids Used Book Sale on Saturday, June 1st, 9am to 2pm in the meeting space adjoining Deja Brew Coffee Shop in Lewisville.

We need your help! You can make a double impact!

By Support, What's Happening

From now until May 10th, your donation will be matched by Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a national literacy organization.

Here’s the story: Book Drive for Kids applied for a Book Ownership Matching Grant offered by RIF. This is a program where Book Drive for Kids contributes a designated amount of money and RIF matches that amount so that Book Drive for Kids can purchase new books at discounted prices from RIF’s online store..

With a $5000 donation from Regions Bank, we applied for RIF to match that $5000. This would allow us to acquire $10,0000 worth of books. That’s 3,333 new books which is literally half the inventory we need for the 2019-20 free book fairs to which we have already committed. You can imagine our surprise when we opened our Award Letter and found they actually awarded us $9000! This will enable us to purchase $18,000 worth of books – that’s 6,000 new books!

Here’s where we need your help!

We need to raise the extra $4,000.

A generous donor has already started this fund with a $1000 donation.
Can you help us raise the remaining amount?
Do you know other donors or corporations that would like to sponsor a free book fair?
These sponsorships range from $500-$2500. All donations are tax deductible.

We are so excited about this amazing opportunity! It is available because of YOU, our amazing volunteers and donors.
Your donation will be matched (up to $4000) until May 10th.

Donate Today!