Start the New Year with Milk + Bookies!

Happy New Year!


2015 has been an incredible year for us here at Milk+Bookies and that is all thanks to YOU! In 2016, we want to inspire even more #futurephilanthropists, raise more books, and spread the love of reading and learning among children everywhere!

Which is why it’s never too early to start planning your 2016 Book-Raiser. For 11 years, we have been helping people all over the U.S. (and beyond) turn any occasion into a book-raiser – from a birthday party to a coffee gathering, a school event to a troop meeting. In our opinion, every occasion is a perfect excuse to host a book-raiser! Here’s how we do it:

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Book-Raiser 101

1. Order your Bookies Box!

The Bookies Box includes book plates, stickers, bookmarks, and balloons – everything you need to get started.

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2. Invite your fellow philanthropists!

Bring your friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers together. Whether it’s for a party or for a simple cup of coffee, ask them to bring new or gently used books to donate. Join our push on CTZN for book-raiser party ideas!


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3. Inscribe the books!

Use the book plates that come with your Bookies Box to inscribe the books with a message for the recipient. This can be anything from a short note to a drawing – be creative! These messages mean just as much to the child receiving them as the book does!



4. Deliver and donate!

We will help you find an organization, homeless shelter, youth program, school, or library in your area in need of books. Deliver your donations to the organization of your choice!




5. Tell us how it went!

We LOVE hearing from our Hosts across the country. Let us know how many books you collected, how many children were at the event, and where you donated the books to. And don’t forget to take some snaps!


Thank you for inspiring our #FuturePhilanthropists and spreading the love of giving and reading!

Happy New Year!


by Marianna Yamamoto

Book-Raiser Spotlight: MacFarlane Park Elementary School

This week’s book-raiser spotlight goes to the students of MacFarlane Park Elementary School! Ms. DeClue hosted a book-raiser with her students and it was a great success!







Dunbar Elementary School!



“We had the best time celebrating giving back to another school!”  – Arianne DeClue


We are thrilled to hear about the success of these #futurephilanthropists and can’t wait to see where their love for reading and giving takes them!

To find out how to host your own book-raiser and make a difference in your community, click here!

Don’t forget to order your Bookies Box that contains everything you need to make your book-raiser a success!



by Marianna Yamamoto

Book-Raiser Spotlight: UF Golden Key

On October 29th, the University of Florida’s Golden Key Chapter hosted a Milk+Bookies book-raiser!


Golden Key is an international, collegiate honor society that upholds the value of integrity, innovation, respect, collaboration, and diversity. Golden Key recognizes academic excellence, helps to instill leadership skills, and cultivates service-learning opportunities in order to push their members to realize their potential. As an honor society, Golden Key has a network of over 2 million members from around the world, that includes faculty members, university staff, doctors, politicians, and many more.

The book-raiser was a huge success and each attendee was asked to bring a new children’s book as their “ticket” into the event.

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DONATED TO: JJ Finley Elementary School!


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 “We are happy to share that we collected 98 new elementary level reads for a specific classroom at a local elementary school that has Title 1 recognition. The teacher already shared with us that the students have begun to read the books and that our personal handwritten notes on the inside cover of each book have encouraged them to read.”

 –  Jessica Killingsworth, Golden Key Co-Service Director

Thank you to UF Golden Key for inspiring #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS and making a difference!

Make a difference to children in YOUR community. Find out how you can host your own book-raiser with your family, friends, school, or organization, here!

Order your Bookies Box to get started!

Join our push on CTZN for book-raiser party ideas, to connect with other hosts, and to share your own experiences.

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah

This week, our Book-Raiser Spotlight shines on Sarah, who partnered with Milk + Bookies for her Mitzvah Project!

Jewish young adults are encouraged to do a Mitzvah project as they prepare for their Bat or Bar Mitzvahs. First, they choose a “Mitzvah.” Mitzvahs are generally recognized as any good deed – something they are passionate about, good at, or want to learn more about. Once they have chosen a Mitzvah, they do extensive research and brainstorm a project.

In Sarah’s case, she was passionate about inspiring reading and learning among kids in the Los Angeles area. Throughout the summer and up until her Bat Mitzvah, she collected and sorted new and gently used books and then distributed them to organizations of her choice. She helped to fill a children’s library at the YMCA of Glendale and brought books to the Hillsides Foster Care Center. Sarah then shared her experiences with her friends and family at her Bat Mitzvah!




Hillsides Foster Care Center

The YMCA of Glendale


Acencia Access Emergency Housing




We are so thrilled to hear about Sarah’s successful Mitzvah project. Thank you for inspiring #futurephilanthropists and spreading the love of reading.

Mazel Tov, Sarah!

Looking for a Mitzvah project?

We can help – contact us to learn more!

And don’t forget to order your Bookies Box that has everything you need to get started and make your Book-Raiser a success!



by Marianna Yamamoto

Milk + Bookies & J.Crew

Read, Give, Grow…your wardrobe!


We are SO excited to be partnering with J.Crew this holiday season to host a very special book-raiser!

Come to their location at The Grove this Sunday, December 13th, from 10am-8pm where you will be treated to personal styling by J.Crew associates, get some of your holiday shopping done, and donate your new or gently used children’s books to children in need for the holidays. Now, that’s what we call a one-stop shop!

As a special “thank you”, J.Crew will take 10% off of your purchase if you donate 5 or more books!!

We hope you will all join us!


by Alesha Dailey

Author Champion of the Month: Rana DiOrio

09e01fdFounder and CEO of Little Pickle Press, investment banker, lawyer, and mother of three, Rana DiOrio, steps into the spotlight as our Author Champion of December! Our multi-talented author wrote the children’s book, What Does It Mean To Be Kind?as part of the award winning series, What Does It Mean To Be…?®. Her books are inspiring families across the country, sparking meaningful conversations between adults and kids.

Native to Rhode Island, Rana’s curiosity about the world began very young as she studied China…and panda bears in kindergarten. She went on to study political science and psychology at Duke University before pursuing a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. Between practicing yoga, writing, and spending time with her Little Pickles, Rana generously agreed to answer a few of our questions. She shared with us her inspirations and thoughts while writing What Does It Mean To Be Kind?We are so grateful to count her among our esteemed Author Champions!

First of all, What Does It Mean To Be Kind? (“Kind”) is a beautiful book with a wonderful message. What was your inspiration to write this book and the What Does It Mean To Be . . .?® series?

My inspiration was the desire to start meaningful conversations between my children and I, and all children and their caring adults, about the topics that matter most—being kind, most importantly.

What does it mean to be kind

We LOVE the book’s emphasis on acts of kindness. What are some of your favorite ways to bring kindness into the world we live in?

Kindness is something you need to practice, personally and professionally. In my personal life, I like to give deserved compliments liberally, listen actively and attentively, invest my time and resources to empower others to succeed, and practice patience. In my professional life, Little Pickle Press is dedicated to creating media that fosters kindness in children and youth—and to doing so in a manner congruent with that mission. We give back to our communities—local and global—through brand partnerships pursuant to which we raise awareness of important issues that impact children, cultivate strong values, and give resources to nonprofits championing the causes we care most about.

For example, Little Pickle Press recently partnered with The Great Kindness Challenge to help educators teach students how to be kind. To achieve this goal, we will donate an electronic copy of Kind, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch, and the title’s discussion guide to 16,000 participating schools in the United States. In addition, we will donate 15% of the net sales of the book to The Great Kindness Challenge to fuel its important work.

In addition, Little Pickle Press does its best to be kind to our employees as well. All have flexible work schedules, so they are free to prioritize their families and other personal obligations. We train and empower our employees and provide them with access to all material information used in reaching corporate decisions.

imagesLittle Pickle Press also does its part to safeguard the environment. We have three titles in our collection that teach young people how they can help protect the Earth’s natural resources—my book, What Does It Mean To Be Green?, illustrated by Chris Blair, Sofia’s Dream by Land Wilson and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, and A Bird On Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Plus, Little Pickle Press prints its books in the United States on recycled paper using soy-based inks. We also use 100% tree-free paper (produced by Prairie Paper, a fellow B Corp founded by Woody Harrelson) and other environmentally friendly solutions throughout our business and supply chain.

Since you have a background in a number of different fields, including law and banking, how have your experiences impacted your perspectives and the creation of this book?

When people discover that I was a Silicon Valley corporate securities lawyer and investment banker during the height of the Tech Boom, they inevitably ask—why did you start a children’s media company?!

The Great Recession roared in like a freight train while I was pregnant with my third child, and it became an increasingly difficult time to be in finance. Moreover, I was finding my work increasingly at odds with raising children with the values I felt would best support their development. So, I decided to do something professionally that aligned with those values, something dedicated to fostering kindness in young people—my own children included. After a great deal of research, I concluded that a children’s media company would best serve those goals, and so Little Pickle Press was born.

Whether our books encourage children to help ensure we all have a hospitable world in which to live (A Bird On Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba), stand up to bullies to restore peace (Ripple’s Effect by Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson and illustrated by Cecilia Rebora), or overcome great personal hardships to help others (Breath to Breath by Craig Lew), everything Little Pickle Press publishes is based on kindness. So, a book encouraging children to be kind seemed a natural addition to the What Does It Mean To Be . . . ?® series.

This book starts an important conversation on kindness and interconnectedness. What would you like the future of this book to be?

It is my heartfelt wish that Kind helps parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caring adults throughout the world plant seeds of kindness in children for generations to come.


What advice would you give children growing up in today’s society?

My advice to children is to be global, green, present, safe, and above all, kind.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing this book?

I was most surprised to discover that all major world religions and philosophies have espoused some form of The Golden Rule since the dawn of civilization. In fact, the more I read, the more I became convinced that the notion of “treating others the way you would like to be treated” gave rise to the concept of laws and social justice systems and, consequently, acts as the very bedrock of civilization. Most importantly, my research left me with the deeply held belief that the future of our civilization will rest on society’s collective ability to instill kindness in our children.



Get your copy of What Does It Mean To Be Kind? here!


15% of the net sales of the book will be donated to The Great Kindness Challenge in support of creating a culture of kindness at schools.


Thank you, Rana, for sharing with us your journey, inspiring books, and reminding us to bring kindness into the world!

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

We Are Thankful For…

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year has FLOWN by and we can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is already here! It has been an incredibly busy year for us at Milk+Bookies and we wanted to take a moment to share what we are thankful for.

We are thankful for all of the parents and families.

We understand how hard you work in order to love and support your children. Thank you for being the creators of the next generation, supporting them as they explore the world with new eyes, and inspiring them.


We are thankful for all of the teachers, principles, and school administrators.

Thank you for loving each student as your own. We know how you dedicate a countless number of hours to your students and your classroom in order to help them learn, grow, and realize their full potential.

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We are thankful for all of the children and students.

Your excitement, perspective, and love brings magic into the world. You inspire us day in, day out.


We are thankful for all of the authors and books.

You whisk us away to far away lands, take us on adventures, and transform us into mystical creatures. You challenge us and help us grow by showing us your world and the world of your characters.


Thanks to all of you, Milk + Bookies has grown beyond what we could have ever imagined. We have inspired future philanthropists across the country in over 400 cities and your book-raiser parties and events have helped to raise and donate over 259,000 books. Our newest program, Leaders+Readers has helped to donate 90,000 books to Title I schools and organizations throughout Los Angeles.

We are thankful for YOU for understanding the importance of reading and giving, and helping us to get books into the hands of kids who need them!!

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It’s safe to say that 2015 has been OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD! We are so excited for 2016 and all the year has in store for us.

While Thanksgiving encourages us to reflect on what we have and what we have accomplished, we also want to take a moment to reflect on how we can BE BETTER and DO BETTER. Having said that, these staggering statistics drive us to work even harder next year, and we hope you will join us!

Los Angeles has the highest number of illiterate residents of any U.S. city.

Most, if not all, Title I schools don’t have a budget for books or library support staff.

70% of LAUSD students are part of the free lunch program – If they cannot afford lunch, they cannot afford books.

Approximately 60% of LAUSD students are scoring below proficient in English Language Arts.

Help us continue to inspire future philanthropists and bring books to kids who don’t have any by hosting your own book-raiser party, have a Leaders+Readers book-drive at your LA school, send us your gently used books, and READ!

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Have a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

Violet & Schyler’s Silver Award

Check out our young future philanthropists, Violet and Schyler! With the help of Milk + Bookies, they set out to complete their Take Action Project for their Girl Scout‘s Silver Award.

The Silver Award is the second-highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette can achieve after they have completed their Cadette journey. Cadettes are challenged to explore their community, identify an issue they are passionate about, and design a project that would bring positive and lasting change. Violet and Schyler chose to tackle the widespread need for books as their Take Action Project. As you can imagine, we LOVED this project. So, Milk + Bookies sat down with Violet and Schyler to help them get started!

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We were able to connect Violet and Schyler with the Jackie Robinson Community Center in Pasadena, a multi-purpose facility that strives to meet the community’s needs with care, dignity, and respect. The Robinson Center’s services include, but are not limited to, health resources, legal counseling, and teen education. This was the perfect place for our Cadettes to fulfill their project goals.

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With a great deal of careful planning and preparation, Violet and Schyler set out to build an entire library for the Robinson Center. They took measurements, built bookcases, painted chairs, and of course, they gathered lots and lots of books! After months of hard work, they had created a beautiful reading corner in the Robinson Center for people of all ages to enjoy. We are so happy to have been part of their growth as Girl Scouts and proud of what they have achieved.

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Congratulations, Violet & Schyler, on your Silver Award!



by Marianna Yamamoto

Alliance of Moms – Raising Baby

On September 26th, Milk+Bookies had the privilege of being a part of Raising Baby, a wonderful event hosted by our friends at the Alliance of Moms.

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Alliance of Moms is an incredible cohort of mothers in the LA area who support the work of the Alliance for Children’s Rights. Moved by staggering statistics like, 75% of girls in foster care experience pregnancy by the age of 21, these mothers fight for and support foster youth. Their educational programs equip pregnant and/or parenting foster teens with empowering tools and information to help give their own children a healthy childhood.

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Over 70 youth foster parents and 40 children gathered at The Children’s Institute for the second annual Raising Baby. The day focused on infant care and early brain development, emphasizing the importance of engagement in the first few years of life. Parents were able to attend workshops throughout the day, while Alliance of Moms volunteers cared for their children. These young parents were able to hear parent testimonies, learn new ways to interact with their children, and attend brain building workshops. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Jessica Alba, Angela Davis, and Kristen Bell all came out to support the event and these amazing mothers! What a phenomenal day!

70 Young Parents


40 Children Attended

Milk + Bookies donated 160 books for Raising Baby, which were included in the goodie bags that each parent took home. Now, they can all share the love of reading with their children and give them a vital tool for future success. We are so happy that these books found loving homes! 


Thank you, Alliance of Moms, for letting us be part of this event!



by Marianna Yamamoto

Vote for Leaders + Readers in LA2050!


We owe so much of our success to our amazing supporters like YOU!

Starting TODAY until November 3rd, our Leaders + Readers program is eligible to win a $100,000 grant from LA2050 and the Goldhirsh Foundation

Cast your vote for our program here!

With this money, we will be able to bring over 100,000 books to children in Title 1 schools and low income areas in desperate need throughout Los Angeles!

With your help, Los Angeles does NOT have to be the #1 metropolitan city with the highest rate of illiteracy.

Every vote counts! Spread the word and rally your friends and family to support the Leaders + Readers mission to make LA the best place to LEARN.

For more information about the LA2050 Initiative, visit:

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by Alesha Dailey