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…And the Books Just Keep on Coming!

When Emily Alt arrived this fall to teach English at Northview High School, she found her ninth-grade classroom library well-stocked with books.

That was thanks to her predecessor, Lindsey Tilley, who last year obtained a grant for 500 books from the Book Love Foundation.

But Alt saw some gaps in the collection, especially for her male students. From her experience in Chicago Public Schools, she knew where she could get more: Donors Choose, a non-profit charity that helps public school teachers obtain needed supplies.

It’s a Kickstarter-style model, in which teachers put their requests online and hope sympathetic donors fund it.

Alt hit the jackpot. An anonymous donor provided $300, good for about 40 fiction and non-fiction books including “The Fault in Our Stars,” “The Impossible Knife of Memory” and “I’ll Give You the Sun.”Student Mercedes Kieber enjoys one of the new books, “The Truth About Alice”

“The person who funded this grant wrote me a little note that says how much they believe in choice reading for students, and how great it is to see kids getting excited about reading,” Alt said.

The titles added to the library’s 1,000-plus books of choice reading for students. The class celebrated their arrival with a book party, then dug into the words.

“I have never worked at a school where kids are as voracious, interested and diverse readers as they are here at Northview,” Alt added. “I figured if they are reading like crazy, then I better have awesome books to ensure they keep that love going!”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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