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Pursuant is proud to announce that The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is launching a new campaign today! During this campaign, Scholastic has agreed to donate 1 book for every vote cast for a favorite children’s book. Below is a personal reflection on the impact books and literacy programs have had on Alyssa Hays, an Account Manager here at Pursuant. To learn more and to VOTE for your favorite children’s book, we encourage you to visit the website:  www.helpthemread.org.

A told B and B told C, “I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.”  

These are the opening words of my absolute favorite book from when I was a child, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.  Growing up, reading was my hobby (along with rollerblading).  I treasured my entire collection of Berenstain Bears chapter books.  I could spend hours in the public and school libraries nearby.  I soaked up all that I could from the thousands of books at my fingertips.  Thousands upon thousands of books at my fingertips.

Until I walked into a high school library in Washington, D.C. as part of a leadership workshop I helped organize in college, I thought everyone had access to these books.  However, as I laid my eyes on their bookshelves, tears started to form.  I saw row after row of empty shelves, and those few books that were on the shelves were clearly old and worn.  I couldn’t believe that these students did not have a library full of resources at their disposal.  My reality was shattered.

Through several organizations I worked and volunteered for in college, I was further exposed to the literacy epidemic in our country, one that starts before preschool and continues through adulthood.  Working in Los Angeles preschools as part of an early education program, I was shocked to learn that most of our students had never had a book read to them until they entered our classroom, and almost all had never owned a book of their own.  These pre-school students who started the year with hardly any literacy skills ended the year knowing the alphabet and engaging in our story-telling.  We simply provided them with the tools (books) and a program (that was proven) ?the kids did all the rest.

And that’s why I am SO excited about the new Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy campaign that is kicking off TODAY!  By simply casting your vote for your favorite children’s book, Scholastic will donate a book to one of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy programs that is proven to support children and family literacy.   Your vote will place a book in the hands of a child that might never have had the joy of holding a book of their own or in the hands of a mother desperately trying to learn the skills that will support her family.  1 vote, 1 book.  LOTS of votes, LOTS of books!  So go ahead and vote, and then spread the word!