Here is a sample of comments given on our Survey sent out in March, 2017.
On Saturday, April 1st two helpers and I went door-to-door in the Heart 2 Heart (H2H) neighborhood. Lifelong Medical's H2H grant program providing funding for the day's efforts (that grant also has covered several month's room rentals for our PlayBook Groups :). No photographer along, so, I only got this one pic of the superb workers recruited for the Day. We spoke to many families, registered 10 children for IL book deliveries, left forms to mail in with some households and on some porches we knew children lived in. It was a fun and informative day spreading the word -- and handing out books! so fun! -- about Imagination Library. I couldn't have dreamed of better canvassers and advocates for the IL program. THANK YOU, Erika and Aramis!!
White children and families are over represented in children's book publishing.
Books featuring children of color must be sought out. Luckily, that's beginning to change, especially here in the SF Bay Area thanks to efforts of many organizations such as Equal Reads and small-press publishers.
I believe it's vital that a child have books from birth, that they see themselves and their families reflected in books they own. A thing must be relevant to a child to be engaging. A baby interested in what they're looking at is a baby who is learning: synapses are firing, neurons are growing.
And, of course, it's vitally important that a child grow up with a sense they belong everywhere in the world, including books. Illustrations that reflect a baby's reality, their surroundings, their families, can help foster that sense from the start. Your baby belongs everywhere. Help them know that from the beginning by surrounding them with books that reflect them and their families, and encourage interaction with books -- relevant, interesting, engaging books -- from the beginning.
Valerie C. wrote:
“My daughter has been in the program since she was 2 [now 4+] she loves receiving the books. When we get a new one every month she always wants to open it right up and read it right away. She loves reading and is making strides towards reading on her own. We love to read anywhere but we especially love bringing books outside with us to read while we are waiting somewhere or to entertain us if we get a chance to get into a great story.
I love this program, it is fantastic. I have always loved reading and if such a program existed when I was a child my love of literature would have been supported from an earlier age.
My child is hyper active but she always will sit to hear a good book. I can not say enough great things about this program, I am only sorry she will be aging out of the program in less then a year but look forward to referring many friends and community members with young children your way.”
A big Thank you to Berkeley Police Association BARBECUE chefs at the CopsWest 2016 Benefit Barbecue cook-off October 8, 2016. BPA Board Member Chris Bonaventure turned over proceeds from that event outside the downtown police station. Their hard work to prepare a barbecue feast for about 1300 (!) diners at the event resulted in a generous and very welcomed donation to The BBBP. A win-win: diners enjoyed a barbecue lunch, more Berkeley babies get more books. All it took was the BPA Team's long hours and hard work!
Last April, BPA teamed up with (err. . . against) Berkeley Firefighters IAFF in a charity basketball game which we were the happy and honored beneficiaries of. Keep up the good work, the B-Ball, and the Barbecue!
Memory moment from Winter 2009:
Loading K-5 students at John Muir School in the PM. A girl, grade 3, sits next to her younger brother in the front right seat. As I walk up from the back of the bus to sit down in the driver seat, I see she's got a Scholastic Books order form on her lap. Pausing next to her, I ask if she's going to order anything. She opens the folded newsprint catalog. Centered on the page is a large photo of our country's new First Family, the Obamas. The girl's little brother leans in with her to look at the portrait of a beautiful family, our new President and his family, beaming back at them.
I am struck by the historical import of this small, quiet moment: two young children looking for the very first time at such a portrait and seeing a President and his family who reflects their own: their parents, their cousins, their teenage neighbors. They are not so struck. They are so young, aware of race in their world but not with the depth and import of it another decade of living will bring to that awareness. They are mostly just sitting on the bus looking at a book order.
The girl asks me, "Is that the President?" and I answer, "Yes, it's our new President, President Obama and his family. We call the President's wife 'The First Lady' and his family 'The First Family'."
"Oh," she replies. They look for another moment as I sit in the driver seat and start the engine. She looks closely at the Obama girls, close to her age. Her brother turns to look out the window as the bus moves away from the school; she turns her attention to the book titles offered on the order sheet.
I am also struck with a sense that for the children in front of me, it's just another day. A small moment in a normal day -- a moment white children have had for generations upon generations, looking at portraits of all other Presidential families.
A moment that is one piece of the mosaic building their sense of what kind of world they live in, and their place in it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our sense of our place in the world is formed and built in many ways, by many forces and factors. A Small Moment can be insidious, damaging. Constant insidious moments are poisonous. Far too many of our children are subject to many insidious moments and damaged by their cumulative poison.
Happily, a Small Moment can also be salubrious for a growing psyche and soul. That moment on the bus in winter 2009, watching two children gaze at a portrait of their their nation's newly installed First Family on a printed page in their laps on a school bus -- just another day -- was such a moment.
A few days ago I was riding my bicycle along Milvia Street by the King CDC (Child Development Center) mid-morning on a lovely warm August day. Many children were out on the playground, running, shouting, playing: you know the sound.
Passing by, I imagined five years from now, riding by knowing that every child on that playground is receiving excellent books at home every month.
I do want to bring Imagination Library to all the Bay Area's children, and I want to establish an effective, vibrant Mobile Early Literacy Center. I'm aiming and working for all of that.
But. I so much look forward to just riding around my town, hearing preschoolers on playgrounds and knowing they all have great personal book collections at home.
A mailman in Utah caused many, books to be delivered to a boy who wanted to read more than junk mail. Super story!