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Students get free books from new nonprofit

Leer en Español, traducido por El Vocero Hispano

Grand Rapids — A new local nonprofit organization recently visited Campus Elementary to promote children’s literacy and put books in the hands of hundreds of students.

Giving Tree Books is run by Steve and Nancy Devon, who launched the nonprofit to offset a dip in the number of books owned by elementary-age students. The couple stopped by Campus to read and hand out copies of their first book, “Tasha Goes to Puppy School,” to all pre-K through sixth-grade students.

The book, written by Steve, shares the “funny and heartwarming tale of a little puppy struggling to find her place in the world and what makes her special,” according to a release from Giving Tree.

The Devons plan to release more books as their organization grows.

“The sky’s the limit as far as how many schools we can reach,” said Steve. “We want to do more books and reach more schools.”

By placing a book directly in students’ hands, Giving Tree hopes to help elementary students take pride in reading, and feel personally invested in the process.

Community School Coordinator Earnestine Mays, left, watches as Steve Devon and Nancy Devon address a group of fourth-graders at Campus Elementary

“We’ve got a spot at the beginning of the book that says, ‘This book belongs to …’” Steve said. “(Students) get so excited about writing their name in it.”

While at Campus, the couple also talked with students about writing work they’re doing in class.

The Devons said the organization hopes to visit more Kent County schools and get books to more students in the Grand Rapids area; the public can support their work on Giving Tree’s website.

Read more from Grand Rapids: 
GRPS appoints interim principals
GRPS board approves school closures

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Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley is a reporter covering Cedar Springs, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Sparta school districts. An award-winning journalist, Riley spent eight years with the Ludington Daily News, reporting, copy editing, paginating and acting as editor for its weekly entertainment section. He also contributed to LDN’s sister publications, Oceana’s Herald-Journal and the White Lake Beacon. His reporting on issues in education and government has earned accolades from the Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. Riley’s early work in journalism included a stint as an on-air news reporter for WMOM Radio, and work on the editorial staff of various student publications. Riley is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He originally hails from western Washington.


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