A week ago today, I had the honor of speaking with the entire student body at Duke School, which is running its third annual book drive for Book Harvest. I am continually amazed and heartened at the compassion and activism of young people, and this conversation was no exception.
There I was in an auditorium with hundreds of students ranging from preschoolers to eighth graders. After testing the students on book trivia (how many of you know what book opens with “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold”? Dragons sure know!), I asked if any of them had been involved with Book Harvest. Dozens of hands shot up. I was stunned. I randomly called on several students, and here were some of their answers:
I ran a bake sale and donated $50 to Book Harvest.
I volunteered to sort books on MLK Day.
My scout troop handmade posters for this drive. They are up all over the school.
I donated half of my books to the book drive last year.
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face in closing the book gap in our community. But that day, witnessing the profound generosity and the trust that our caring young people have invested in us fortified me for the work ahead. One of the students said to me that she found it unimaginable that a kid like her didn’t own any books; it is that sense of disbelief among our children that will propel us to a solution.
If our young people understand the urgency and magnitude of the problem enough to share their hard-earned money, their time and talents, and their beloved books, we certainly owe it to them to do our part to ensure that every child grow up with books, and plenty of them.
Onward, Duke School Dragons! You are an inspiration!
PS The Duke School book drives in 2011 and 2012 brought in more than 5,000 book donations. This year’s drive ends this Monday, Feb. 11. I look forward to reporting on it once the numbers are in!