Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Christmas In May

The Guys Lit Wire Book Fair has generated hundreds (YES, I said HUNDREDS) of brand new donated books that will go directly to the new library we are creating in the Los Angeles Central Juvenile Jail, through Inside Out Writers...the agency for which I work as a creative writing teacher.  When Lee and Colleen first approached me about this project, they told me that these things start slowly and build over the years.  I expected to fetch about 20-30 books at the most.  But, within the first HOUR of the announcement of the book drive, we already had 50 books pledged.  

Now, as I sit here opening box after glorious box from Powell's Bookstore, I cannot contain my joy...and, yes, I'm shedding a few tears as I read the notes people have sent along with their books.  I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers who want to help these locked up kids, who desperately want to read, but have no access to books.  And now they do!

Some messages people have sent with their donated books:

"I'm so sorry I can only afford to send one book right now.  I hope the kids enjoy it!"
"Thank you for giving the gift of reading to those who need it most."
"Bless you and Guys Lit Wire for all your generosity."
"These are our favorite books. We are in elementary school and we love to read. We hope the boys in jail like them as much as we do."
"Thank you IOW and Guys Lit Wire for helping us to help others who need it."
"I hope this book inspires and helps the boys in jail like it helped me so many years ago."

THANK YOU to all who donated books.  I'm hoping to have the boys reviewing books soon...so that you all can see what a major huge difference you really are making in these kids' lives.  The fact that total strangers all over the world are using their own precious money so that kids in jail can have the luxury of good books to read may just be the key to reducing the crime rate in Los Angeles.  Don't laugh, it could happen!

Marley and Brandy, my beloved Springer Spaniels, have been helping me hour after hour to tear open cardboard packages bearing shiny new books.  Above, you can see the ones they chose as their favorites.

Thank you for reading!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kids In Jail Read Too!

Oh, my goodness...apparently I've been so crazy busy writing/revising my current book project, I've completely neglected my blogging duties!

But I have to announce that the Guys Lit Wire online book fair for boys is underway!

The bloggers/writers/reviewers over at Guys Lit Wire approached me a while back about donating books to incarcerated boys in the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system.  And because I teach Creative Writing classes in the L.A. juvenile jails, through the amazing Inside Out Writers program, we were a perfect match to get this project rolling.  Special thanks to the wonderful Lee Wind and the equally wonderful Colleen at GLW for setting this up!

The Guys Lit Wire folks have a blog site dedicated to providing a wealth of information and reviews on books for boys, and now they've pledged to "put their money where their mouths are" by placing some of their favorite books into hands of boys who need them most...those who are locked up with no access to books, but have a hunger for reading.  So often these "invisible" kids are locked away and forgotten by society.  So, I cannot thank GLW enough for remembering that, despite their histories, these are just normal kids who love reading, writing and creating! 

I've been teaching for Inside Out Writers for the last 9 months, and can safely say that these boys crave books more than anything.  More than cookies or doughnuts or spicy cheetos!  So, if you get a chance, head on over to Guys Lit Wire, click on the link to the Powells wishlist and send a book (or two or three) to my fantastically talented and dedicated writing students.

THANK YOU in advance to all those who have donated books or plan to.  This is very much appreciated!  The boys will be ecstatic.  Rock on Guys Lit Wire!