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What’s Happening

Supporting Austin Sunshine Camp

By Fundraising, General, What's Happening

This summer, Book Drive for Kids Austin is serving 500 foster care and at-risk youth in the Austin area by giving them free books.  Children in foster care typically lack access to books, with parents not being able to take them to the library or buy them books for summer reading. To bridge this gap, we host free book fairs at several summer events, ensuring that they have access to a good book and hopefully prevent the summer slide.

Last week, we kicked off our summer efforts by hosting a free outdoor book fair at Zilker Park during the Austin Sunshine Camp kickoff event. We braved the Texas heat and distributed 173 brand-new books to campers! Each camper was able to select a book to bring to camp and read during quiet time that can spark a love for reading that will last a lifetime.

Upcoming Summer Events

The Austin Chapter of Book Drive for Kids has three more exciting events planned this summer:

These events are expected to serve 500 students, offering the gift of literacy and the joy of owning their very own book. Books open doors to new worlds, foster a love for reading, and contribute to the educational success of foster care and at-risk youth.

How You Can Help

If you have a heart for foster care youth and believe in the power of books, we invite you to support our cause. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Donate Books: Visit our Amazon Wish List and purchase a book. Each book bought will go directly to a child in need, providing them with the tools to succeed academically.
  • Monetary Donations: Contributions of any size are greatly appreciated and go a long way in helping us reach more children. Your donation will be used to purchase new books and cover the costs of our free book fairs.

Your generosity can make a lasting impact on a child’s life. With your help, we can continue to bring the joy of reading to children who need it most. Thank you for supporting our mission and making a difference in the lives of foster care youth.

Volunteer Highlight – Elise Phillips

By General, What's Happening

When the Ferguson Road Initiative approached us about bringing free book fairs to the elementary schools in Far East Dallas, we were excited BUT we knew we would need more volunteers.  They sent out the call and one of the sweetest ladies we have ever met responded. Elise Phillips, a retiree and active volunteer in local Dallas ISD schools as well as other organizations, volunteered for our first event two years ago. She was hooked! Since then, everytime we are in her community, she shares her warm smile and kind words with the kids.

BDK:  Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live, your family, work, hobbies? What is something your friends love about you? 

Elise: I live in Dallas, I am retired, I love to crochet and volunteer for causes that impact my community.  I think my friends like the fact that they can count on me to do what I say I will do. 

BDK: Yes! We DO count on you! How did you find BDK? 

Elise: Book Drive for Kids was featured in the Ferguson Road Initiative Newsletter looking for volunteers to help with the book drives in the area they service.

BDK: What keeps you volunteering so regularly?  

Elise: Kids need to learn to read.  Good reading skills take practice and these children love the fact that they can take home books of their very own. 

BDK: What is one word that sums up a Book Drive for Kids free book fair?  

Elise: Happy 

BDK: Do you feel like you are making a difference? 

Elise: I hope so.  The children are so grateful each year that they get to participate in the book drives. 

BDK: What would you say to someone considering volunteering with us? 

Elise: Volunteers are needed in so many areas and you get so much satisfaction watching the children pick out books that they are interested in and will read.

Let’s Read: Beat the Heat

By General, What's Happening

On a hot summer day, whether at the beach or in a cozy La-Z-Boy® recliner, nothing beats escaping into the pages of a great book! For the kids, all the required reading of school assignments is completed and now is the time to read for fun! 

But what if you don’t have access to fun adventures, silly stories, or National Geographic animal books?  What if your parents work two jobs and there’s no time left for a trip to the library?  What if you don’t have transportation to a public library?

School is out and so is your access to books.

Our solution: books at home!

Thanks to CBS Texas and La-Z-Boy, a lot more children across DFW are going to have the opportunity to have books at home! Over 3,500 books were donated at La-Z-Boy® stores in May, including a 500 book donation from Nickelodeon.  These donations will be used at Book Drive for Kids summer book giveaways and free book fairs. We are excited about finding new homes for these great books.

We are so grateful to La-Z-Boy® and CBS Texas for this opportunity! CBS Texas reporters Nicole Baker and Lauren Crawford are two of the kindest and easiest people to talk to. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to advocate for the importance of books and families reading together.  

Volunteer Highlight – Jessica Torres-Cano

By General, What's Happening

Volunteer Highlight

Since September of 2022, Jessica has logged almost 60 volunteer hours while working full-time for United Healthcare. She is a bundle of energy and shares her enthusiasm for books at our free book fairs.

BDK: Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live, your family, work, hobbies? What is something your friends love about you?

Jessica: I live in Carrollton with my husband Felix. Between the both of us we have 5 young adults and 7 cats! I love spending time with family, watching movies (especially anything Star Wars), dancing, and of course, READING!

BDK: How did you find Book Drive for Kids?

Jessica: I found you through my company’s volunteer portal. When the company started a volunteer drive, I wanted to find a way to do my volunteer hours that fell in line with my love of reading, Book Drive for Kids was the perfect match!

BDK: What keeps you volunteering so regularly?

Jessica: I feel that reading is truly the key to a great future for anyone. Hearing a kid say that they don’t like to read and then helping them find a book that they get excited about gives me unmeasurable joy. I believe that deep down everyone is a reader, they just have to find that book that speaks to THEM!

BDK: What is one word that sums up a Book Drive for Kids’ free book fair?

Jessica: Inspiring.

BDK: Do you feel like you are making a difference?

Jessica: I really do! As a child, I remember being so very excited for the school book fair but knowing that I would not be able to get the books I wanted due to finances. Seeing every child walk away with a book from a Book Drive for Kids free book fair, no matter their family’s economic background, sets them and their families on a course of literary adventure.

BDK: What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

Jessica: DO NOT HESITATE! You may walk away tired but you will feel so privileged to be able to help those kids find out that reading for pleasure is a possibility!

Austin Highlight – Brooke Terry

By General, What's Happening

Volunteer Highlight

When Book Drive for Kids first began in 2017, Brooke Terry lived in Flower Mound with her husband and two boys. She was one of our very first volunteers. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Austin. Fast forward to 2021. We had friends who invited us to bring a free book fair to their small elementary school. Immediately, I thought of Brooke!

After that first event, Brooke wanted to be more involved with getting books into the hearts and homes of disadvantaged children, especially children in foster care.  She soon embarked on a volunteer position of Director of the Austin chapter of Book Drive for Kids.  In coming newsletters, we will keep you informed on what’s happening in Austin but first, we want you to meet the woman behind the scenes.

We caught up with Brooke and here’s what she has to say:

BDK:  Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live, your family, work, hobbies? What is something your friends love about you? 

Brooke: Thomas and I have been married for twenty years and have two boys. My hobbies are reading, bible study, hiking, and traveling. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. My friends would say that I am loyal and dependable.

BDK: Why did you originally get involved with Book Drive for Kids?

Brooke: I LOVE reading books and I want kids to LOVE reading books too.

BDK:  Volunteering to direct multiple events in another city is a pretty serious commitment! Can you tell us what motivates you?

Brooke: As I delved into the research, I discovered that many low-income families do not have any children’s books at home. The Literacy Project finds a stark disparity in book ownership between low-income families (1 book for every 300 children) and affluent families (13 books per child). This gap is a driving force behind our program. 

My passion is to give away fun and engaging books to children so that children fall in love with reading.

BDK: In a single word, how would you describe a Book Drive for Kids Free Book Fair? 

Brooke: Rewarding!

BDK: What is the greatest challenge for you here in Austin? 

Brooke: Time. There is never enough time to meet all the needs in our community.


By General, What's Happening


Barnes & Noble Christmas Book Drive – Frisco

First Free Book Fair with the State Fair of Texas Foundation at J.J.Rhoads Learning Center in Dallas

Journey to Dream’s Shop with a Cop

LovePacs November – Christmas distribution

Angel Tree – Vickery Elementary

Single Parent Advocate Christmas

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By General, What's Happening

These words serenade us as we hurriedly drive to Black Friday sales, school recitals, and holiday parties. They croon in our living rooms as we decorate our Christmas tree. We hum them in the midst of the baking, shopping, traffic, and crammed schedules. It’s easy to begin to wonder, Is it REALLY the most wonderful time of the year?

Yesterday, in the midst of back-to-back book fair events shepherding hundreds of children through tables filled with lovely books, it WAS the most wonderful time of year! I did not experience it in the perfect gift or decoration or even in the hustle and bustle of children dressed in holiday gear. I found it in a shared smile, a funny comment, a genuine question, and a moment of real listening to another.  These brief moments of shared humanity brought a genuine smile to my face. As the hurriedness was set aside, we entered a moment of “seeing” each other with full attention.  These simple interactions that lasted only 30 seconds filled my heart, making this the most wonderful time of the year.  

The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. I love the decorations, the baking, the songs, and the gift-giving; however, it is so easy to feel the stress and forget the actual purpose of all the activities. Christmas is a holy-day (holiday) to celebrate the greatest gift of all time, Jesus. He embraced humanity and regularly connected one-on-one to give the greatest gift – love. “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:9) is a foundational principle of Book Drive for Kids. When we are tired, it is this truth that provides the “Why” to all our effort. We are rewarded in these simple exchanges of love – an excited whoop, a shy smile, or a warm heart.


May you experience a truly Wonderful Time of the Year!!


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 [email protected].

Volunteer Highlight – Donna Esposito

By General, What's Happening

Volunteer Highlight

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

 During the summer of 2020, as Donna Esposito was moving to Flower Mound, she came across an abundance of books her children had accumulated over the years.  With her kids grown and flown, Donna decided, “It’s time to sort and share!”  When she googled where to donate books in the area, Book Drive for Kids popped up. (We are so thankful!)  Soon we came by to pick up her donation of TEN BOXES of new and gently used books, and a relationship was born.  

Once Donna discovered our mission was to get books into the hearts and homes of disadvantaged children, she wanted to get involved.  She understood the importance of books and fostering the love of reading in children; she had encouraged these values in her own home.  Now she had the opportunity to do the same for children who did not have books readily available to them. 

Today Donna is a regular volunteer and supporter. Here’s what she has to say:

BDK: What keeps you volunteering so regularly?  

Donna: “I really enjoy volunteering! Seeing the happy, smiling faces of all the kids who are so excited to have a new book of their own is heartwarming!

BDK: What is one word that sums up a Book Drive for Kids free book fair?  


BDK: Do you feel like you are making a difference? 

Donna: “I’d like to believe that I make a small impact by assisting with the book fairs with an encouraging and enthusiastic demeanor to share the joy that reading can bring.”

BDK: What would you say to someone considering volunteering with us?  

Donna:“Do it! Reading is so important to foster in children of all ages.”

Without the consistent, joyful help of volunteers, Book Drive for Kids would not have been able to give away over 50,000 books this past year. 

Thank you, Donna, for the servant’s heart you bring to Book Drive for Kids.  The smiles and love you share allows these children to know they are seen and valued.

Yes, Book Drive for Kids wants to get books to children in need, but more importantly, we want to share hope for a future full of potential and purpose. It’s because of volunteers like Donna that Book Drive for Kids continues to be invited to host free book fairs. Join Donna in helping change a child’s life, one book at a time.

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
[email protected].

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!