Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
Amy Zaslansky, founder of The Book Fairies, is looking to put books into the hands of every child.
Zaslansky, originally from Maryland, has lived in Bellmore for six years. An entrepreneur and teacher’s assistant in the North Bellmore School District
, Zaslansky started The Book Fairies in May of 2012 when she was inspired by the good deeds of a selfless child.
“I’ve always been looking for a project to become involved in,” Zaslansky said. “I noticed ‘Make a Difference Day’ in the newspaper one day, and there was a little girl across the country who had collected books a school that didn’t have a library. I thought, that’s perfect. I have three young kids who are constantly going through books, and my friends had tons of books, and no one knows where to give the books to.”
Zaslansky consulted Donorschoose.org
to find out what areas on Long Island were most in need of books.
“It’s a phenomenal website where teachers from around the country can post small projects for things that their school district might not be able to afford,” she said. “They’re opening it up to the community, and seeing if the community can become involved.”
Zaslansky looked up the listings on Long Island, and noticed a number of teachers who were requesting books to be sent home with their students so they’d have something to read over the summertime.
“They were talking about how devastating it is, and how much their students lose academically, when they don’t have any books at their house,” Zaslansky said. “Fortunately, my neighbor is the Bellmore PTA president, so I called her and asked if we could throw together a book drive.”
A book drive was indeed held, and within only one week, Zaslansky was stunned to find that they had collected over 3,000 books.
“It was amazing,” she said. “We had such an incredible response from the parents, because we were really helping them out. They were able to clean out their house, and they knew it was going to a worthy cause.”
From there, Zaslansky contacted teachers through Donorschoose.org, as well as several school districts which were identified to her as “high poverty,” such as Hempstead and Wyandanch.
Several of these districts made visits to Zaslansky’s garage, which had been converted into a makeshift book warehouse. Two teachers from Hempstead walked out with 1,500 books for their needy students.Get local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Like Bellmore Patch on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Seeing that she was onto something big, Zaslansky started calling other PTA groups throughout Long Island to help with additional book drives. PTAs from towns such as North Bellmore, Merrick, Seaford, Wantagh, and others got involved, and will be doing drives all through this year.
However, Zaslansky soon got even more assistance from an especially unexpected source.
“I got a call from Penguin Books asking if they could donate,” she said. “I was speechless. It turns out that an employee at Penguin has children at Lakeside School where I was doing a book drive, and she brought the flyer I was giving out there into work. Soon, I had a pallet of books delivered to my garage...probably over 1,000 brand-new books.”
To date, The Book Fairies has collected just under 10,000 books in barely half a year, but for Zaslansky, spreading the gift or reading to children desperately craving it is worth all the hard work.
“People are starting to rally behind it,” Zaslansky said. “It’s really exciting and thrilling for me...I love books, and I’m trying to instill a love of books in my children, and there are so many kids on Long Island that don’t even have any books in their home. If I can get books into their hands, that’s a fulfilling feeling.”
The Book Fairies currently has a donation website that’s under construction. Until it is complete, book donation inquiries can be made via email at email@example.com.What do you think of the work that Zaslansky’s done? Tell us in the comments below.Want more stories like this? Follow the Volunteering group and get instant updates in your homepage news feed.
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