Brianna’s goal for 2014 is to be able to donate over 4,000 books to kids in Maine!
Check out Brianna and Billie Jo's Facebook page:
Brianna organizes story times at her local public library. The picture above is from Brianna's story time when she had Morgan the Dog come and visit the children. Morgan is from another nonprofit, Silent SideKicks! Morgan is a therapy dog and visits libraries, schools, and hospitals.
I wanted to know more about this super-kid and invited Brianna and her mom to visit with us today.
Hello Brianna and Billie Jo. Thanks for stopping by. Billie Jo, I’m sure you are extremely proud of your daughter. I’m also sure you played a major role in turning her into a book lover at a very early age. Am I right about that?
Her Father and I did read to her at a very young age, but I think no matter what, Brianna would have had a love for reading. She was able to read at a very young age and we did encourage this by making sure she had books to read. Now she can’t put a book down and loves to read chapter books. Just this week alone on her winter break she has read 3 books.
Brianna, what’s the first book you remember reading, either with your mom or by yourself, that really hooked you into becoming an avid reader? What are some of your favorite books?
The first book that I remember having read to me is Millie Moo. My parents read this book to me every night before I would go to bed. They read it so much that I memorized it and could then read it to myself at a very young age. The first book that I remember reading on my own is Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See. I was able to read this book in Pre-K and it was my absolute favorite book.
How did you get the idea for Maine Books for Maine Kids? Did this start as a small project and grow?
I have always loved to read and since the age of 7 I have held my own story time at my public library. I wanted to do something more for the kids in Maine to make sure that they have their own books to take home and enjoy so my Mom and I came up with the idea of Maine Books For Maine Kids. We also wanted to focus on Maine authors so we did some research and came up with tons of great authors. When we can, we try to focus on Maine authors and buying their books. There are so many great Children’s Authors in the State of Maine. I started this organization in October of 2012 donating a few books at Christmas time and since then I have been able to donate over 1700 books.
What other activities have you done to spread the love of books?
I hold a story time at my local library every Tuesday during the regular school year. It’s free for people of all ages and I provide them with a snack and a craft. Last summer I was awarded with a $2000.00 grant from Target so this has helped me a lot with my story time. I have been able to also donate books to the library with the money. I try to make this fun for everyone so they will love to read and keep coming back to the library. We have different themes and we also have guest speakers and special guests at different holidays. I have also done book readings at different libraries and schools. I have also held two read-a-thons at my school to not only raise money for a Maine author visit but also to get the kids in my school reading and to show them how much fun it really is. I also got Bess the Book Bus and Cynthia Lord to visit my school in September. It was the third day of school and everyone in the school got a free book and Cynthia Lord read two of her books to the whole school.
How do you obtain the books you give away? Do you have fundraisers? Do you accept donations of money or books?
My Mom and I work very hard to get book donations. We have done various craft fairs where I sold cookie jar mixes and other food goodies. I have also made book marks and sold them at various places. I also have many people that support me and give me book donations and money donations. I accept book donations and money donations at any time. I am always working on a new project. I just recently did a 154 book donation to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland and right now I am holding a Read-A-Thon at my school to raise money to go towards a Maine author visit.
What does the future hold in store for you?
I would love to be able to drive my own book bus around the state of Maine and make sure that every kid in Maine has their own books. I want to be able to donate more books than I did last year and help to spread my love of reading to more locations. I would also love to be able to write and illustrate my very own Children’s books and go around to schools and read those books and donate my very own books.
Brianna was just recently awarded with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award Middle Level Winner for the State of Maine. She will be presented with a Silver Medal, $1000.00, and a paid trip to Washington D.C. where she will meet the other 101 winners. She also will have the chance to become a National Winner while in Washington D.C. She will also be visiting a Washington D.C. Elementary School and donating and doing a book donation along with the other winners. She is very excited about being able to do this since this is her passion. She is looking to be able to send down a box of books by just Maine Authors or books about the State of Maine. She also was just recently awarded with the Presidential Community Service Award. She was sent a Certificate and a letter from President Obama. This was awarded to Brianna because of her commitment to the community and all of her community service hours.
Brianna is always taking cash and book donations to help out her organization. If anybody would like to help, our address is PO Box 1002 Baileyville, Maine 04694. Brianna also does book donations and story times all around the state of Maine, if you would like her to come to your school or library. You can contact us on Facebook at Maine Books For Maine Kids or call Billie Jo at 214-8757.