TRAVERSE CITY — Children of all ages can stock up on summer reads at five children’s literacy events across the region.
United Way of Northwest Michigan collected more than 2,000 new and gently used books at its May book drive and will be hosting Days of Action events next week to distribute the books to young readers.
The literacy event is in its fourth year and coincides with United Way’s national Day of Action on June 21.
“The goal of this is to get books in kids’ hands and keep them interested in learning throughout summer,” said Michelle Gallagher, community impact director at United Way of Northwest Michigan.
There will be book give-a-ways in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. The two-hour events are free, and families are welcome to come and go at any time, Gallagher said.
“We have books ranging from picture books for little guys all the way up to books for teens and young adults,” she said. “We have some adult books that we’ll bring along, too, in case mom and dad want any books.”
UPS is sponsoring the events and donated backpacks for children to fill with books and take home. The events will include storybook readings every half-hour and craft activities to coincide with the stories.
Gallagher’s favorite craft corresponds with Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” Children will make paper leaves from their handprints and write down a way they’ve given back to someone. They’ll then attach the leaves to a tree, and the tree will gather leaves at each event.
Jerry Morse is an AmeriCorps Vista working with United Way who worked with local schools during the organization’s book drive in May.
“We just wanted children to have the opportunity to fill their summer with books and reading,” he said.