Books On Break

“We are working hard at Glenn to close the achievement gap, and Books on Break is a way for our students to have greater access to quality print materials….It is not unusual to have a student fill their bag and then double check with an adult: ‘I can really keep these?’ ”

– Principal and Media Coordinator
Glenn Elementary School, Durham

In 2017, Books on Break provided 93,527 books at the start of summer to 18,767 students from 44 elementary schools in four school districts! Read the Books on Break 2017 Final Report here!

Afterschool providers and educators: click here to access the Books on Break toolkit so that you can launch your own summer book giving program.

Imagine you are nine years old and about to finish third grade…

This was a great year, the year you discovered the Magic Tree House book series in the school media center. You have already read 16 of them. You keep a list of the titles you’ve finished taped to your bedroom wall at home.

Now you are headed home for summer without a lot to do. Your parents will be working, there isn’t money for camp, and you don’t have books at home.

Then something amazing happens during the last week of the school year: your teacher brings you and all your classmates to the school media center, which has been transformed into a pop-up bookstore. She gives each of you a string backpack and invites you to fill the backpack with 10 books you can take home and keep for your very own. You select your 10 books carefully and are amazed to find THREE Magic Tree House titles. You are giddy with excitement, and you can’t wait to start reading!

This is Books on Break.

The goal of Books on Break is to combat summer learning loss and to transform summer into a time of literacy enrichment. We provide books to elementary school students on free or reduced lunch at the start of summer.  These books are theirs to keep forever and will help them retain their academic skills over the long weeks of summer.

With summer learning loss accounting for 80% of the income-based achievement gap, access to books in the summer is vital to every child’s academic success.

We are so grateful to the many book donors, financial donors, school officials, parents, and volunteers who made this extraordinary experience possible!

Want to help us deliver another book-rich summer for our young readers in 2018? We are already preparing! Contact Book Harvest’s Education Partnerships Manager Rachel Stine at to find out more.


UNC-TV’s North Carolina Now covered the event at Glenn Elementary in Durham in June 2015: