Leaders + Readers Wrap Party

Leaders+Readers Wrap Party

Come celebrate the success of Milk + Bookies‘ Leaders + Readers program at our Wrap Party this Saturday, August 1st! From 12 to 4pm, we’ll be at TOMS Flagship Store located at 1344 Abbot Kinney Blvd with books in one hand, crafts in another, and likely a cookie or two in our mouths!

We are excited to announce that this event will also feature a reading by special guest Jack Jones–author of “Chizi’s Tale: The True Story Of An Orphaned Black Rhino”!!

There will be copious amounts of delicious cookies, courtesy of Calabasas Cake & Cookie Co. and Isabella’s Cookie Company, plus, opportunities to give back! Bring any new or gently used book to the store on Saturday to donate to LAUSD Title 1 schools.  This family event is for everyone, so we hope to see you there!



 ULTIMATE STUFT Cookies from Calabasas Cake and Cookie Co. and the official Milk + Bookies Chocolate Chip Cookies from Isabella’s Cookie Company




Wondering why we are celebrating our Leaders + Readers program?

In the 2014-2015 academic school year, the Leaders + Readers program paired donor and recipient schools together to hold school-to-school book drives and a total of 58,000 books were donated to Title 1 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (Title 1 schools are educational agencies with high percentages of students from low-income families).

8,100 total students participated in donating books!





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9000 total students received books!





Given that California’s national ranking in “access to libraries” is dead last and California’s National Ranking in “books per student” is 49, initiatives like Leaders + Readers school-to-school book drives are integral in removing barriers to educational access.


Learn more about our Leaders + Readers program here or learn how you can host your own independent book-raisers here!

We hope to see you at our Wrap Party on Saturday to celebrate these stupendous results with cookies, crafts, story time, and all-around fun!!


by Betty Fang

Have a Snack with Annie’s Homegrown!

White Cheddar Deliciousness

Shells & White Cheddar Deliciousness

When in need of a nutritious snack, Annie’s Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese puts the “eesy” in cheesy~ really. Boil water. Release the pasta. Drain. Add milk+sauce. Voila~ A quick, hot snack that is laden with calcium and protein!

A 10 minute recipe to achieve 10/10 on hunger satisfaction!!

For our Leaders+Readers program, we turn to Annie’s Homegrown for all of our snack needs! Leaders+Readers is our school-to-school book drive program and on the momentous Book Drop-Off Day (after many hours of sweat, toil, and anticipation), donor and recipient schools finally meet and interact. Students from each school pair up, pick a book to read together, and share Friends Bunny Graham Snacks!

Annie’s Homegrown has generously provided all of our snacks for this academic school year’s Leaders+Readers program and we could not be more grateful!! These Book Drop-Off Days are momentous occasions not only because of the transfer of books to schools in need, but also because they provide an opportunity for children of diverse backgrounds to come together and bond over literacy…and snacks! Anything can be a starting point for a conversation and friendship, and just as Annie’s Friends Bunny Graham snacks include a variety of bunnies like Honey, Chocolate, and Chocolate Chip, we believe our children’s lives are further enriched by inclusive engagement with others.



We at Milk + Bookies are also excited about Annie’s new Organic Mac & Trees because it further underscores their commitment to ensuring the world continues to be a great place for our children. The pasta shapes are “Love Your Planet” themed and come in recycling symbols, bikes, trees, and planets! What a fun way to get kids to learn about the importance of being mindful of the environment!  What’s more–every purchase goes towards funding school gardens.


Organic Mac & Trees definitely deserves Bernie’s Rabbit of Approval Seal!



Happy snacking! :)

Happy Snacking! :)

For more information on how to get your LA school involved in Leaders + Readers for the 2015-2016 school year, visit our website or email bookdrives@milkandbookies.org!

by Betty Fang

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Coastal Cuties of Long Beach

A beautiful day at the park to hold a Bookraiser!

This Friday, our Bookraiser Spotlight goes out to Coastal Cuties of Long Beach! On June 26th, they held their second Book-Raiser with Milk + Bookies to help raise books for Justin Rudd, founder of Community Action Team, to take to AIDS orphans in Kenya. Coastal Cuties of Long Beach is a family cooperative that supports Long Beach moms and their families; together they wanted to help Justin Rudd, who in turn will be visiting Kenya to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and help Kenyan children. Donated books will be brought to the orphans and to help stock local school libraries.  25 kids contributed to the Bookraiser and raised an incredible 220 books!

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“I like this book because it is fun to read!”

Total Books Raised: 220

Total Kids Involved in Event25

Donated To: Justin Rudd (CAT) and Tumaini International


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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.


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To find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser and start making a difference to children in your community, click here.

And don’t forget to purchase your Bookies Box full of all the materials you will need to make your Book-Raiser a success!!



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Be Kind by Giving! Give Books..Get Cookies!

by Betty Fang

Read Brightly!

brightly 2Today we wanted to shine a spotlight on our friends at Brightly! We at Milk + Bookies are constantly on the hunt for thoughtful content surrounding youth and literacy, so when we encounter a source that elegantly streamlines our process of curation and learning, we know we’re onto something good!!

Brightly believes reading has the power to illuminate kids’ lives and exists to guide parents and guardians through the process of raising lifelong readers.  Founded in 2014 by a team of passionate bookworms and parents, Brightly aims to connect kids with the right books in all stages of their lives! With its clean interface, Brightly is devoid of pesky ads (glorious!) and clickbait sidebar articles–an element not to be overlooked given our wandering eyes.  Launched as a project at Penguin Random House, Brightly features original, unique content such as book recommendations from book publishers for all ages, reading tips and insights, seasonal inspirations, author essays, contests, gift guides, and more.

“Brightly is like your fun, friendly, and well-informed kid-lit pal. Our focus is on celebrating and embracing different kinds of readers, kids, and interests. Brightly gives parents insights into which books and authors their children might get excited about and what activities might enhance a family’s experience of reading.” – Liz Kotin, Content Editor

Milk + Bookies especially loves the learning-specific content provided by Brightly, namely this article that discusses fun ways to develop kids’ foundational skills in grammar and writing. Such articles demonstrate Brightly’s clearly intentional, long-term goal of prioritizing education and putting into our kids’ hands, exactly what they need!

“As a lifelong book lover, I want to share my interest and passion with my family, especially with my son, but as a working mom, I’ve seen firsthand how our busy lifestyle can make this a challenge.” – Amanda Close, Co-Founder

“We estimate that there are more than a quarter of a million children’s books on the market, so finding the right book for the right child at the right time can be challenging. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a fantastic local bookstore or librarian to guide them. I wanted help navigating those stacks and we’re finding that other parents do, too. Hopefully, Brightly will help provide that for us.” – Christine McNamara, Co-Founder

Recently, Brightly was kind enough to feature Milk + Bookies and some of our favorite books all about giving, sharing, and the love of reading! You can check it out here!!

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Be sure to Read Brightly to explore the wild and wonderful world of children’s books and reading!!

Looking for more great books?? Check out this list of some of our Founder, Meredith’s, Favorite Children’s Books!!


by Betty Fang

10 Books to Help Children Understand Their Emotions

Baby cries, ergo baby is sad. This logical fallacy is all too familiar to parents. Of course, there could be a whole host of reasons as to why baby is crying–fear, hunger, discomfort, fatigue…carseats. Ask any parent if they’d like to have immediate omniscience over baby’s needs-o-meter and there’d be a resounding “yes!”. Trying to figure out whether to grab for the milk bottle or blankie is not quite Russian Roulette, but if you were actually supposed to grab for a brown bag/towel because baby’s digestive system is applesauce-intolerant…well, you get the idea.

Fortunately, babies eventually age out of their non-verbal phase. For parents, verbal communication significantly simplifies the process of understanding and meeting children’s needs. However, as children grow older, needs gradually expand to include not only those that are physiological (food, rest) but also immaterial and intellectual (confidence, respect, autonomy). Emotions for children and adults alike are oftentimes many degrees removed from these deeply internal higher level needs. And if continually unmet, these higher level needs can result in volatile behavior–further obfuscating the true underlying needs–instead of being addressed. It goes without saying that all needs cannot be met by others–sure, a parent can feed their child, but can they implant self-confidence? These are complex, fulfilling conversations to be had as children grow older, but the first step in empowering children to navigate their own emotions successfully is to be able to recognize them. Only then can children cultivate mindfulness by analyzing their emotions, identifying the underlying needs, and taking action to actively resolve them.

To start children on their path to becoming emotionally intelligent little beings, here are a few books that can introduce children to their emotions and even facilitate mindful actions:


The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

“Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading ‘dreary wearies’ isn’t really his destiny.”






That Makes Me Mad! by Steven Kroll

“Steven Kroll reveals precisely what drives children crazy…Here is an ideal book for parents and children to share-for pure pleasure or for exploring emotions and family love.”





The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia

“This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf named Freddie…and an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.”




The Feel Good Book by Todd Parr

“This book will inspire kids to discuss their multitude of feelings in a kid-friendly, accessible format, told through Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes.”





The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

“The zany characters who sniffle, soar and shriek through this book will help kids understand the concept of such emotions as joy, disappointment, boredom and anger…and will also show kids how to express their feelings with words.”





Angry Octopus by Lori Lite

“Children relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to take a deep breath, calm down, and manage his anger.”




When I Feel Scared by Cornelia Maude Spelman

“Children often feel afraid. This book, with its comforting words and illustrations, will help children address those fears and learn some new ways to cope with being afraid.”







Also, check out these books from our friends at The Mother Company! The Mother Company focuses on everyday challenges experienced by parents with young children and places great value on social and emotional issues. They have an entire line of books and educational segments dedicated to social-emotional learning.

When Miles Got Mad

“By encouraging Miles to use his words to express his anger, the Mad Monster helps Miles move through this big emotion to calm himself. This book offers comfort to young children as they learn to regulate their emotions.”





A Little Book About Feelings

“This book teaches children the vital emotional literacy skills needed to recognize, name, and appropriately express feelings, thereby helping them to develop compassion, empathy, and self-awareness.”



My Feelings Activity Book

“A personalized journal for young kids to document and explore their feelings. Kids get familiar with what makes them feel the way they do and how they can make their feelings change.”




Happy Reading!


by Betty Fang

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Ms. Heidy Paredes’ Class

Today’s Milk+Bookies Book-Raiser Spotlight goes to the incredible Ms. Paredes and her cohort of university students at Centro de Estudios de Idiomas Mazatlán Uas in Mexico. Students in this ELT–English Language Teaching–program will all go on to become future English teachers!  As a part of their final project in the Literature class, Ms. Paredes’ students were tasked with making a short storybook and audiobook to promote reading in English.

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Upon completion, the students helped raise additional books to donate to the public elementary schools Francisco Marquez Torrontegui and Ramon Lopez Valarde. Students dressed up as characters from their own book and discussed the importance of reading and learning a second language. Check out the amazing atmosphere and generous spirits that Ms. Paredes’ students were able to create at the local elementary schools!

Total Books Raised: 26

Total Kids Involved in Event: 52

Donated To: Public School Francisco Marquez Torrontegui and Ramon Lopez Valarde

A few quotes from Ms. Paredes’ students:

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“Being a part of this project has made me realized that if we all help with something small like bringing books to schools, we are going to be able to change people’s habits such as reading more or getting children more interested in books.” –Ana V.

“It was nice to know that children are really motivated when they have something that is creative in front of them.” –Jonathan G.

“Donating all the books is a good start to encourage students to read more and learn something new, as well as, practicing the language. It was an awesome experience and I would be happy to do it again.” –Cristina M.

“English learning is going to be really important and it is satisfactory to know that our books can help them to acquire the language and who knows, maybe they can even be encouraged to become English teachers in a future.” –Joel C.

“I felt blessed when I donated my book to them; I then noticed that all my hard work was worth it.” –Gabriela P.


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Thank you for making a huge difference with Milk+Bookies!!

To find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser and start making a difference to children in your community, click here.

And don’t forget to purchase your Bookies Box full of all the materials you will need to make your Book-Raiser a success!!


by Betty Fang