Book-Raiser Spotlight: Guiliana’s 5th Birthday!

This week’s Book-Raiser Spotlight goes to Guiliana Pezzoli who held her 5th birthday party at The Grand Cinema in Tacoma, WA!



DONATED TO: St. Nicholas Catholic School’s Early Education Program


“I liked doing my Milk and Bookies party because all of my friends were there and donated so many wonderful books!”
– Guiliana Pezzoli

Guiliana and her friends gathered together to celebrate her 5th birthday in a special way, by donating books! Thanks to Guiliana and her friends, St. Nicholas Catholic School‘s Early Education Program now has wonderful books for the children they service!

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

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 Wendy Paniagua

Mr. Men / Little Miss Gap Celebration Recap!

On Saturday, February 6th, Milk+Bookies teamed up with Gap to celebrate the Mr. Men Little Miss series and the release of their new clothing line inspired by them!

Mr. Gap & Little Miss Gap

Mr. Gap & Little Miss Gap

20 Gap Kids stores across 18 cities in the U.S. and Canada hosted a day of fun with a cozy reading area, photo opportunities with Mr. Gap and Little Miss Gap, a coloring station, and of course…COOKIES!

Reading 1

Rachel Pitzel of Club MomMe reading at The Grove, Los Angeles

Photo 2

At each location, a local mommy blogger joined the fun and hosted a reading of the Mr. Men Little Miss books. Everyone was encouraged to join in and bring books to donate! Each store collected gently used books to benefit a local Boys & Girls Club in their community!



Chestnut St., San Francisco

Hosted by Liz Stanley of Say Yes

Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto

Hosted by Jordan Reid of Ramshackle Glam

The Grove, Los Angeles

Hosted by Rachel Pitzel of ClubMomMe

Houston Galleria, Houston

Hosted by Houston Moms Blog

Court King of Prussia, King of Prussia

Hosted by PhillyFun4Kids and Mommy Call

17th and 5th, New York

Hosted by Nicole of Lillies & León

59th and Lexington, New York

Hosted by Brianne of Strolling in the City

Garden State Plaza, Paramus

hosted by Jersey Fashionista

NorthPark Center, Dallas

Hosted by Autumn Rose Reo of Mama Challenge

Copley Place, Boston

Hosted Kristin Quinn by of Misadventures in Mommyhood

Water Tower Place, Chicago

Hosted by Alicia Marie of Making Time for Mommy

Michigan Ave, Chicago

Hosted by Alison Ray of So Chic Life

Lincoln Road, Miami

Hosted by Jennifer Berger of Wear it Well Miami

Mall at Millenia, Orlando

Hosted by Orlando Moms Blog

South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa

Hosted by Jenn Willey of Balancing the Chaos

Lenox Square, Atlanta

Hosted by Kecia of Southern Girl Ramblings

Toronto Eaton Center, Toronto

Hosted by Social Common

Chinook Center, Calgary

Hosted by Kait Kucy of The Archives of Cool

Tysons Center Corner, McLean

Hosted by Sarah Grosjean of Capital Moms

Hoboken and Washington Street, Hoboken

Hosted by Reesa of Momma Lew


It’s not a celebration without cookies! YUM!

We are thrilled by the overwhelming support from the Gap, all of the wonderful mommy bloggers, and YOU!

Thank you for spreading the love of reading and giving!

Learn more about Milk+Bookies, here!

Host your own book-raiser to benefit your LOCAL community!

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Activity Day Girls

This week, our book-raiser spotlight takes us to Tennessee where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ Activity Day Girls hosted a book-raiser to benefit Safe Haven Family Shelter. Led by Chantelle Duncan and Theresa Cram, this group of 11 girls had the perfect combination of books, milk, and cookies for a successful book-raiser!


The Activity Day Girls are…

Katie Duncan, Julianna Coleman, Mallory Voyles,
Lauren Rich, Ashley Smith, Cannon Smith, Rachel Clark,
Emme Haslam, Ashlyn Edgeworth, Kate Jones,
and Isabell Williamson


Number of Kids Participated: 12!

Total Books Raised: 99!

Donated to: Safe Haven Family Shelter!


Safe Haven Family Shelter “empowers Middle Tennessee homeless families with children to achieve lasting self-sufficiency.” Safe Haven is one of the only shelters of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts entire homeless families and provides comprehensive services to help families achieve secure housing, stable employment, and self-sufficiency.



YOU could be our next book-raiser spotlight! Book-raisers are a great way to create service learning opportunities for children and young adults while collecting books for your LOCAL community! There are so many fun ways to host a book-raiser, it can be anything from a class project to a birthday party. Start by ordering your Bookies Box, start planning your event, and we will help connect you to a school or organization in your area in need of books.

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

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

Celebrate Black History Month with Us!

February is Black History Month! This month, we honor and celebrate the work of Black leaders who’s ground breaking work and sacrifices help build the world we live in today. We honor African American history as well as look forward to the future and the ongoing work of today’s leaders to combat existing inequalities and injustices.

Supporting and celebrating African American authors and illustrators is one way we can honor Black culture and history. And, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite young adult and children’s book authors!

Maya Angelou

Maya AngelouMaya Angelou was an activist, singer, writer, actress, professor, and mother. She wrote numerous books during her lifetime including: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Die, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, and Mom and Me and Mom. In 2011, President Barack Obama gave her the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for her collected works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me


“An acclaimed picture book from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominee Maya Angelou is now back in print in a gorgeous paperback edition. America’s favorite poet joins a well-known photojournalist to tell the story of an eight-year-old Ndebele girl named Thandi, who lives in painted village in South Africa with her mother, her aunts, her mischievous younger brother, and her best friend, a chicken. Share the joys and challenges of growing up between two worlds–traditional African craft passed down from mother to daughter, and modern life found in the bright, colorful motifs of the murals and beadwork–and learn about a different culture through a new friend.” (Google Books)

Letter to My Daughter


“Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Told in her own inimitable style, this book transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.” (Google Books)

Ta-Nehisi Coates

downloadTa-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son. (Google Books)

Between the World and Me

download (1)

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

“In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis… What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.” (Google Books)

Andrea Davis Pinkney

andrea_davis_pinkney_1_163x231Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction. Andrea’s novels include With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America series, and Bird in a Box. Andrea’s picture books include Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, a Parenting Publication Gold Medal winner, winner of the Jane Addams Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Award for historical works for young people, the Anne Izard Storyteller’s Award, and the Flora G. Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction; The Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, which also won the Carter G. Woodson Award for historical works for young people; and Duke Ellington, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters


“Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America. Harriet Tubman helped more than three hundred slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad. Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in–even when it feels like no one is listening. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s moving text and Stephen Alcorn’s glorious portraits celebrate the lives of ten bold women who lit the path to freedom for generations. Includes biographies of Sojournor Truth, Biddy Mason, Harriet Tubman, Ida B.Wells-Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Josephine Baker, Dorothy Irene Height, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Shirley Chisholm.” (Google Books)

Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson  is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson has gained acclaim for the artwork he has contributed to several NYT Best-selling picture books including his authorial debut, “WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball”, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert Awards, and was published by Disney/Hyperion in the spring of 2008.” (Kadir Nelson’s Official Page)

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans


“The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define their country. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination and triumphs.” (Google Books)

Share with us your favorite African American authors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto

An Interview with Ms. Avila of the Variety Boys and Girls Club

Milk + Bookies has had the privilege to work with over 50 Boys & Girls Clubs in the Los Angeles area and nationwide. Books donated to Milk+Bookies, whether through our Leaders+Readers program, book-raisers, or personal donations, have helped to fill the shelves at a multitude of Boys & Girls Clubs as well as give their members an opportunity to choose books of their own to take home to keep.

We took a moment to talk with Ms. Josie Avila, the Librarian of Variety Boys & Girls Club in Boyle Heights to learn more about her members, the importance of reading, and the impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the community!

How did having a Milk+Bookies Choose + Keep Book Fair impact your club?

Our book collection in our library increased by almost 1000 books! Because our members were given a rare opportunity to pick & choose their books, this ignited a passion for reading, not only for learning, but also for pleasure. Our parents were grateful that their children could increase and, in many cases, start a library at home.


How does reading have an impact on your members at the Variety Boys & Girls Club?

I have been an employee at the club for three years,  I have seen members who started coming to the club since Kindergarten and are now in third grade.  One example is Geovany Paredes, a third grader, who last year was tested and identified as “Gifted”.  He comes in every day! He loves to read chapter books and his favorites are all the Geronimo Stiltson books that he started reading in second grade.  Geovany has also read the entire Magic Tree House Series.  The members who love to read are also doing better in writing.  Parents have also started signing up younger siblings to expose them to our reading club.


What kinds of books excite your kids?

The classic fairy tales, scary stories, holiday books, Dr. Seuss, Patricia Polanco.  I also find members who love to read biographies, history, and science.  I challenge them to find a book that is just right for them, then explore and read for fun.  Everyone who reads is also expected to do at least 3-4 book reports per month.

What does working for the Boys & Girls Club mean to you?

I love working with children, I worked with LAUSD as a library Aide for 20 years before I came to the club.  I love helping children by planting a seed for “the love of reading“.  I always tell our members that reading is a lifetime skill.  I use character analysis that enriches their understanding of this important life skill.  For example: Respect, Equality, Consideration, Kindness.  At our library, I expose our members to the writing process, art, & poetry.

I also call & invite parents to participate in our reading program.  I try to be a positive role model to all our children & their families.  I raised a son in this community & I have seen the impact of parent involvement in our youth’s lives in our community.


What is the impact that the Variety Boys & Girls Club has on your community?

Personally, my older brother was a member and I know it kept him involved in positive activities.  He was also exposed to trips, team sports, and positive adult role models. The VBGC has been providing a refuge for children who daily struggle with real life circumstances of poverty, gang violence, and substance abuse.  Our staff works to ensure our programming meets kids where they are in their cognitive development, as well provide basic needs (snacks) so they are ready to learn.

What are the best ways to get involved at your club?

The best way to get involved is by contacting us at:

(323) 269 – 3177

Our Executive Director is Mrs. Patty Siquieros

Our Program Director is Mrs. Susana Magana


The club believes that all children can learn and achieve if given the opportunity to excel!




Thank you, Ms. Avila, for all you do to support your community and inspire young readers!

Learn more about our Leaders+Readers program, here.

Your Los Angeles school could host a book-drive or become a book-drive recipient!


Read! Give! Grow!

by Marianna Yamamoto