Children collect thousands of books for community

Children collect thousands of books for community
Children collect thousands of books for community
Collecting books are Andrew and Catherine Zurfluh.

During 2017-18, the Miami-Dade community came together to share the love of reading by providing children from the community the opportunity to select and keep free books from the 55 Read to Learn Books for Free bookshelves. These books have been provided by so many in the community via book drives, special events and personal donations.

Read to Learn Books for Free, a literacy initiative of Miami Book Fair, in partnership with The Children’s Trust, has been diligently collecting gently used children’s books to ensure that all kids in the community have free access to books, and to the joy and adventure of walking through windows and doors made p to ossible by reading.

Read to Learn Books for Free appreciates students of Ben Gamla Charter School, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Casa dei Bambini, Conchita Espinosa Academy, Christopher Columbus High School, Coral Reef High School, The Cushman School, Dave and Mary Alper JCC/ECD, Doral Academy Preparatory School, Gulliver Schools, Immaculata La Salle High School, Leewood K-8 Center, Mater Academy, Miami Country Day School, North Beach Elementary, Our Lady of Lourdes, PACE, Palmer Trinity, Ponce De Leon Middle School, Riviera Preparatory School, Rockway Middle School, Somerset Academy, and Terra Environmental Research Institute who together collected more than 9,000 books during the 2017-18 school year.

“I’ve always loved books. It was my thing, my escape. I just couldn’t imagine my life without reading. I wanted to share it,” said Juliette Reichert, a junior at Doral Prep, who organized and hosted a school-wide book drive, and enlisted the support of teachers and classmates to help her promote the drive. “I know I’m lucky. I’m surrounded by books. I can check them out at the library, I can buy them. It makes me sad to think that books and reading are a luxury. I want to share my love of reading and books with others.”

Juliette placed eight bins in different classrooms, and over the month, Juliette and her classmates collected 1,400 books.

“Some of the books we collected were from our personal library, books we kept because we loved them, they were near and dear to us. But knowing that the books were getting into the hands of other kids, we knew our favorite books would find a new home, and would be treasured as much as we treasured them.”

Read to Learn Books for Free also appreciates the support of Books & Books, City of Coral Gables Youth Center, Key Biscayne Community Center, Miami Dade Police Department and Miami Dade Public Library System for hosting ongoing book drives, and to AA Uniform Company, AventuraKids, The Bass Museum of Art, BDO USA Accounting, Florida Memorial University, Grand Realty, Health Choice Network, KaufmanRossin, KidVision, Less Is More Professional Organizers, Lil’ Jungle Hair Salon, Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, Milam’s Market, Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Pinecrest Garden’s Little Lizards, Plato’s Closet, Publix, South Florida Center for Percussive Arts, Stiles Corporation, Whole Foods, and Ultimate Software for hosting special event book drives.

“When I younger, I was an intense reader, I loved where books took me. I want to share that love,” said Carrollton junior and 16-year-old Catherine Zurfluh of Coral Gables, who with her brother collected over a thousand books for Read to Learn Books for Free. “I love how reading expands your mind, and helps you develop your brain for the future. I just loved coming home from school, and I would see the boxes filling up, and know that the books were going to be loved, as much I love books.”

The Molina Foundation has selected Read to Learn Books for Free to receive more than 25,000 new children’s books.

“We feel extremely honored and very much appreciate this gift from the Foundation’s Book Buddies program,” said Amanda Giust, [rogram coordinator at Read to Learn Books for Free. “Literacy is the key to progress for the Miami-Dade community. This donation allows us to continue supporting the success of children and families we serve.”

The goal of The Molina Foundation’s Book Buddies program is to provide resources to help children, parents, and caregivers to create word-filled homes through reading and learning together.

From the beginning of the 2017 school year to the present, Read to Learn Books for Free has distributed over 91,711 books to the children of the community through its bookshelves.

Read to Learn Books for Free works on two community-based levels: young children are able to select books for free from 55 bookshelves stocked weekly with donated books from our community and which are found in a variety of locations around the county, such as juvenile court to community service offices, clinics, park and community centers.

To meet the demand of stocking 5,000 books per week, children’s books are always being collected. Visit to find a Read to Learn Books for Free donation bin closest to you.

If you are interested in hosting a book drive for Read to Learn Books for Free, send email yo

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