Local Book Drive: Help Me Raise 600 Books for The Children of Philadelphia

Reading has always been a part of my life in some shape or form; whether it be for the use of education, research or leisure, it’s had a way of shaping my life. However, there is a lost generation of readers in today’s society.

I believe reading is fundamental for everyone, but primarily for children, adolescents and young adults. The society we live in is constantly progressing in the technology industry, and between social media and television, reading has taken a place on the back burner, but I’m one of many hoping to change that.

This spring, I am partnering with Tree House Books, a local non-profit organization whose “vision is to see that every child in Philadelphia has access to books and every opportunity to pursue their dreams. We are on a mission to grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers.” 

Founded in 2005, Tree House Books classifies themselves as a Giving Library and Literacy Center in North Philadelphia with a dual purpose to provide free books to the community, and Out of School Time (OST) programs that increases literacy skills, and promote a lifelong love of reading and writing in children from their earliest moments, through high school, and beyond.

More specifically, I will be working within their Books in Every Home campaign which is on a mission to give deserving families in Philadelphia access to books who may not have otherwise. A statement on their website that I can fully support is that they understand that most of a child’s learning goes beyond a traditional school setting and the need to encourage and inspire reading in homes is crucial. However, these children are attending schools that do not have lending libraries or may be low-income households that cannot afford to purchase books to bring into the home. And that’s why I want to help achieve their goal of distributing 75,000 books in 2018 throughout the city, surpassing their total of 67,000 in 2017.

Reading was always so easily accessible to me either at home or school growing up. I love getting lost in the words of an author, living vicariously through characters, learning something new, expanding my imagination far past the words on the pages.

More than that, reading can have other long-term effects such as improving focus and concentration, enhancing memory, expanding imagination, healthier alternative for entertainment, language development, increase of knowledge, and long-term academic success.

 The 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test results demonstrate that far too many young people continue to read below grade level. Sixty five percent of all U.S. fourth graders scored “below proficient,” which means that they are not reading at grade level. Only 35 percent of fourth graders are reading at or above grade level. In addition, 64 percent of eighth graders are reading below grade level, whereas 36 percent are reading at or above grade level. Still, these statistics do show an improvement at both grade levels. In 1992, 72 percent of fourth graders and 71 percent of eighth graders were reading below grade level.  – U.S. Department of Education, “The Nation’s Report Card,” 2013.

For more staggering facts about he literacy rates in our nation, visit this site:

http://thencbla.org/literacy-resources/statistics/

This book drive is small step for me, however, it is one that can have a large impact on families throughout Philadelphia, but I need your help.

My goal is to collect 600 books to donate to Tree House Books within the next 6 weeks.

Tree House is specifically looking for all children’s books, classic literature used in schools, and African-American literature, but are accepting all books, with exception of encyclopedias, as they can find a home for every book, or they can keep them in their giving library in North Philadelphia.

Alternatively, if you do not have any books you wish donate, but still want to support the organization, you can make a donation on their website!

Contact me via this post, by email at keoughmeg1@gmail.com, or by phone if you have my number if you wish to donate some books or have any questions! You can also drop off locally at either Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, PA or The Borough Brewhouse in Jenkintown, PA. I truly appreciate any and all donations in my effort to help bring literacy back!

*And don’t forget to celebrate World Book Day on April 23rd!*

 

 

 

 

6 Books To Help You Through Your 20s

As an avid reader, I’ve always found a comfort in books due to the way they can take you away from all of life’s distractions. But, this past year the distractions have been harder to silence and more prominent in noise, that I’ve had to adjust my reading list from fiction to non-fiction.

The 6 books I discuss in this post have been helpful while navigating through adulthood, familiarizing with post-grad life and overcoming everyday obstacles. The stories that line the pages of these books are a true comfort to anyone simply just trying to figure life out. Also- any of these would make for a perfect Christmas or graduation gift! Hope you find something of interest

The Big Life by Ann Shoket

In this empowering book written by Ann Shoket, former Editor in Chief of Seventeen magazine, ‘The Big Life’ is defined as that delicious cocktail of passion, career, work, ambition, respect, money and a monumental relationship. Shoket stresses that this life is something that you want on your own terms, which is important to remember throughout your life. This bad bass babe wanted to be able to provide advice for those women who thirst for this kind of life and she crafted this book in her own unique way- through hosting a series of dinners in her apartment. Each dinner consisted of a group of about 6 or so friends of a friend of a friend coming together to talk about their life and what they felt was missing. After a few of these dinners, Shoket began recognizing that a lot of the questions these women were feeling internally were similar across the board of all different demographics. These included:

  • How do I find a career that is also my passion?
  • How do I find a partner who honors my ambition?
  • How will I be able to have a big, demanding career without taking my foot off the gas when I have children?
  • How do I get paid what I’m worth?
  • How do I get the respect I deserve from my bosses?
  • And finally, will all this struggle be worth it?

These questioned framed the story for this book and the real-life stories you will read are pure, hard-core and relatable. This book resonates so well with many of the posts I have written on this blog and was also very entertaining and educational. It definitely does not disappoint!

Side note: I was able to meet & speak with Ann at Head House Books in Philadelphia about this book which was an incredible opportunity as a writer. 

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All Groan Up by Paul Angone

This book entails the time line of a guy who struggled a for a long time with post-grad life. Unfortunate endeavors, dead ends, highs and lows, and small victories. His story and his writing are inspiring and had the ability to comfort me about the immediate state I was in upon graduation. He makes his readers know that it’s acceptable not to have a concrete plan or a road map to success, and sympathizes with the struggles faced by recent graduates who live in a world full of unknown. Paul Angone outlines what it’s like to be in the real world with absolutely no answers, through his personal experiences and endeavors, and how he finally got to where he wanted to be through hard work and a lot of trial and errors.

And he was right, things do work out, even if takes some time to and even if they end up in ways you didn’t expect. All Groan Up is emotionally fundamental, but also hilarious, witty and entertaining!

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Bossypants by Tina Fey

It’s no surprise that Tina Fey is comical in every way, but her writing in this book actually had me laughing out loud. Her wit, honesty and bluntness make this book about finding your way through the details of her own personal accounts will make you feel better about yourself in every way.

I was completely sold after the short 3 page introduction caused by joke after joke. I highly recommend this book not only to those having a difficult or confusing time after college or in adulthood, but anyone in their 20s! It also instills a mantra to carry with you which is that of:

“Either way, everything will be fine.”

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Maybe I’m a bit biased because I love every single thing about Minday Kaling, but this book was an absolute page turner. Similar to Bossypants, which is appropriate because Kaling has been referred to as Fey’s younger sister before, ‘Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?’, this book instills the theme and importance of resilience in your life. Kaling is so respectable because she is honest and makes fun of herself and doesn’t give a damn what people think.

Part Two, I Forget Nothing: A Sensitive Kid Looks Back, was one of my favorite sections as well as her take on Jewish guys.

These humorous, truthful essays were entertaining and insightful and I’m eager to read her latest book, Why Not Me?

Apologies in advance for anyone who doesn’t know Mindy outside of her character on The Office- she admits she is nothing like Kelly Capore!

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out The Mindy Project  on Hulu!

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to like this book. I felt it was too heavy and emotional for me especially after reading the first chapter. But I am happy to admit I was wrong because I cannot give enough praise to this book. Truly inspiring and sincere, Wild evoked emotions I didn’t even know I possessed. The feeling of being lost in her own life resonates with me to a certain degree and maybe that’s why I enjoyed following alongside her journey so much, so any post-grad still looking for answers, this book is a great read while you figure it out!

A true story of strength, perseverance and courage, Wild is one to inspire. It is honest and naked to the core.

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101 Secrets for Your Twenties

Author of All Groan Up listed above, 101 Secrets for Your Twenties is a book full of great insights for any post-grad, millennial or anyone trying to survive adulthood.

In his introduction, Angone writes, “I think we can all agree: This twentysomething shoot ain’t easy. It’s a decade exploding with intensity and ambiguity. Anxiety and excitement. Purpose and pointlessness. Answers riddled with questions. Paradoxes mixed with 100 percent certainties. There are so many “firsts”. So much change. So many “what ifs, what nows, and what the hecks.”

This book is crafted perfectly for anyone asking themselves the question, “What now?”

Here are a few of my favorite “secrets”:

  • Making and keeping friendships in your 20s is harder than G.I. Joe’s Abs.
  • Those friends who are uber-successful in their 20s are the outlier- not the norm.
  • A college diploma is not your golden ticket into DreamJobLand.
  • Obsessive Comparison Disorder is the smallpox of our generation.
  • The Freshmen Fifteen is nothing compared to the Cubicle Cincuenta.

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I hope this guideline of books for your 20s was helpful and enticing! Even if you don’t usually read, you may want to give one of these a try, especially if you’re a post-grad and feel like you have no answers!