A Little Help from Your Friends

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 17 2010

This is a rare post from me, something I normally don’t do. But while huddled in the office on a Sunday afternoon this email came in from a friend and my first thought was, who better to help then my writing community.

So thank you in advance for anyone who can contribute.

Dear Friends and Family,

As most of you know, I teach at Valle Vista Elementary, a Title 1 school in the poorest area of Albuquerque’s south valley. We have a population of 640 students in preschool through fifth grade. The children at Valle Vista are some of the most amazing children you will ever meet. They are eager to learn and succeed.

Each year on the last Friday in October, our school hosts an event called Read-O-Ween for our students, their families and the community surrounding the school. Instead of collecting candy, our students move from room to room in the school. In each room a staff member reads a different story. At the end of the evening students are given a book to keep and take home. For some of these students, this is the first book that they have ever owned.

This year we had a major sponsor drop from our program at the last minute and as a result, do not have enough book donations to allow each child to receive a book at the end of the evening. Additionally, we’ve had no donations of books written in Spanish for this year’s Read-O-Ween festival. Because many of our students speak English as their second language and come from homes were Spanish is the only language spoken at home, it would be of huge benefit for these children to be able to receive a book that can be read by and with their families.

I am writing to ask that you forward this request to anyone who might be able to provide book donations appropriate for the preschool through fifth grade students at Valle Vista.

Books can be mailed to the school at this address:
Valle Vista Elementary
Attention: Bertha Torres, Bookroom Coordinator
1700 Mae Avenue Southwest
Albuquerque, NM 87105

Thank you so much! Kris

*****An update posted 10-20-10

I received new information from the reading specialist at Valle Vista who said that for this year we don’t have Paypal, Donors Choose, or an Amazon wish list, but the suggestions have inspired her to look into each possibility for next year.

She did say that in English they are most in need of Kindergarten through second grade books. In Spanish they need everything from pre-K through fifth grade.

I also got this, “Thank you so much for spreading the word. I am awed by the support provided by the writing community. They are truly contributing to the success of this event and I’ll update with Read-O-Ween details at the end of the month.”


And thank you.


24 responses to “A Little Help from Your Friends”

  1. Avatar chicleeblair says:

    Is there a way people could paypal the price of a book so that those who know the children could purchase books that would fit in best with their levels/curriculum?

  2. I, too, sent books from Amazon. But I'd highly recommend that next year they try to get this project on Donors Choose–it's right up the alley for DC, and they could make a list of precisely what books they want.

    (Another alternative–set up an Amazon wishlist with the books they really want.)

  3. Avatar planetpooks says:

    I had great fun picking out Spanish language editions of books I love. Thanks for sharing the opportunity! (I sent directly from Amazon, too.)

  4. Avatar T C Mckee says:

    Placing this information on my Blog at https://tcmckeewriter.blogspot.com/
    and I hope it helps.

  5. Avatar Livia says:

    The amazon wishlist seems like a great idea. Perhaps your friend could give us more specifics about what type of books they want?

  6. Avatar Levonne says:

    Thanks for posting that!

  7. I'm from Albuquerque and know my boys aren't in a situation like this. Happy to donate.

  8. Avatar Faye Hughes says:


    I just placed an order for six books at Amazon to be sent to Valle Vista. Thanks for the alert.


  9. Avatar buildingalife says:

    Do you know which grades need more books so we can fill the gaps there? Also, for anyone else getting books Borders has a 25% of coupon FAF1018X until Monday

  10. Avatar Julia Hunter says:

    My pleasure to kick in too – we're investing in our future. 🙂

  11. Avatar MadDabbler says:

    I'm from NM and know how poor the state is overall (particularly compared to where I live now). I'll gladly participate. Thanks for the notice.

  12. Avatar Layla Fiske says:


    I'm in…

    The Amazon wish list is a great idea. It would be good to know what age group they are most in need of, so that we can fill that gap.


  13. Count me in! I sent books from Amazon as well. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help.

  14. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I'll send out a package of books in the morning. I'm heading to my local bookstore today so this is perfect timing.


  15. How wonderful! It sounds like a fabulous program. At my school, the Lioness' Club donates coupons to kid in need to buy books at the book fair in May. Some of the kids come to school and don't even know how to hold a book. It's important.

    It would be helpful to know which level books they need the most. It would be a bummer to receive all K-1 level books and no 5th grade books.

  16. Avatar Ken says:

    I'm in, 6 books.

    Tried for a range across those grades.

    Thanks for putting this up, Jessica.


  17. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Ordering some books for you now. Hope they help!

  18. Avatar Anonymous says:

    How about an IndieBound wish list? This way the money goes to a local bookstore who contributes to the community with events and tax dollars.

  19. I sent a board book, an easy reader, a Ramona novel, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, all in Spanish. Every kid should have a book to read, dang it!!

  20. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Books are on the way and I tweeted your post. Thanks for writing about this!

  21. Avatar Denise says:

    I sent books from Amazon as well. I hope they are useful.

  22. Avatar BECKY says:

    Hi! I saw a Twitter about this on Cathy C. Hall's blog (https://cathychall.blogspot.com/)
    I am thrilled to find a wonderful home for the many books I've held onto for almost a year! I "won" a silent auction last November and couldn't quite decide where to donate them. Looks like the timing is right for this! I'll send as many as I can tomorrow, Oct. 20th, which is my youngest son's birthday! He is a college senior and how appropriate to also help out other students! 🙂

  23. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Do your students have any access to computers? If so, I write two educational blogs for kids. Sleepy Bear hosts an online book club and Moosey-Moose blogs about his travel adventures. I am happy to send to you their double-sided, laminated bookmarks with their blog addresses printed dirctly on both sides.


    Kahtleen A. Hunter, MS


  24. Avatar E. A. Brass says:

    Aie, I just clicked to send a bunch of books. I really hope they get there in time! I'm going to be anxiously checking the order status every day now.

    I think the hardest part was setting a limit for myself. It is MUCH too fun to shop for children's books.