Our first annual Children’s Book Giveaway had it all: perfect weather, excited children, bookmarks you could color, free Spider-Man library cards from the New York Public Library, and a reading by a special guest!
A steady stream of families perused the tables set up outside our Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center, piled with free brand-new books from our loyal supporters in the publishing industry. Some families were so inspired they sat down right in the courtyard and began to read.
Local resident Alma Santiago brought her daughter and a nephew, who chose The Cat in the Hat and a book about Alexander Hamilton, among other titles. Their excitement prompted Santiago to think about adding more space for books in her apartment. “I don’t have much room but I’m going to get a bookshelf for my babies,” she said.
Christine McDonnell, who won our Goddard Riverside/CBC Youth Book Prize for Social Justice last year, came down from Vermont to read her book, Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women. A circle of children and adults listened raptly as she shared the tale of Tiernan, who realized in the 1970s that women were being shut out of homeless services. The shelter she founded is still open today and provides not just a place to sleep, but a variety of services designed to lead to permanent housing.
“If there’s one thing I’d like people to take away from the book, it’s compassion,” McDonnell said afterwards, while fielding questions from the audience. “Kip Tiernan always had compassion and respect for people, no matter what their circumstances were.” That’s a message we can all get behind.
Thanks to all the volunteers, donors and shoppers who made this event possible!