March
18

Discover Books and the Power of Giving

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All of us here at Milk + Bookies are bursting with excitement for our upcoming 7th Annual Story Time Celebration!! As you have probably guessed, one of the most important parts of the Story Time Celebration is, you got it, books! We’re talking lots and lots of books… so many that you could build a castle out of them…literally!!

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Stacks of books from Discover Books in the Story Time Celebration donation room

We would love to offer a BIG thanks to our partner Discover Books for supplying the thousands of titles that comprise our donation room at the Story Time Celebration! Here, kids can handpick books to inscribe with warm messages and donate to children in need.

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This little guy loves donating!

Discover Books was founded on the idea that a good book should never be thrown away. They set out to redistribute, resell, and recycle used books, ensuring that they either make their way into grateful communities nationwide or are repurposed into new goods, and do not end up in landfills.

In addition to contributing to the Story Time Celebration, Discover Books also supplements our school-to-school book drive program, Leaders + Readers, year-round, helping us provide books to thousands of kids in schools and organizations throughout Los Angeles!

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Leaders + Readers program assistant and volunteer coordinator, Sonia, hanging out at the Discover Books warehouse

Discover Books believes in the magic of an amazing story and in promoting children’s literacy across the nation, values shared by everyone at Milk + Bookies. Here’s to some awesome teamwork!!

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For more information on our 7th Annual Story Time Celebration and to purchase your tickets, click here! We hope to see you there!

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Shannon Dailey
July
22

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.

 

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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
June
24

Bike for Bookies with SoulCycle

Do you like books, biking, and giving back?? We are VERY excited to announce that our Bike for Bookies event with SoulCycle, the revolutionary indoor cycling gym, will take place on August 8th @ 2pm at the West Hollywood SoulCycle Studio!!

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We are riding to help raise funds for our new Leaders + Readers Book Drive Program, getting kids in Title 1 schools in the LAUSD new and gently used children’s books that they desperately need. Since January we have already raised 55,800 books and worked with 30 LA area schools! Now, we need YOU to help us reach our goal of getting 100,000 books into LA area schools this fall!! How? By rallying your friends and family to support and sponsor you as a Bike for Bookies rider!! With Leaders + Readers, every $1 equals one book!!

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If you are interested in being a rider at this event, please email events@milkandbookies.org for more information and details on how to sign up! Hurry!! Spaces are limited!!

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Alesha Dailey
April
22

6th Annual Story Time Celebration

It is hard to believe that another Story Time Celebration has come and gone already!

Every spring, we host our huge fundraiser here in Los Angeles, California. It is designed to be a day where the whole family can come for some fun and philanthropy.

“This event is a SUPER BLOW OUT version of the “host your own” book-raiser. We provide books on-site from which children choose, inscribe and donate to a pre-chosen recipient. We have arts & crafts all made from recycled book pages, costumed characters from your favorite classic tales plus a celebrity story time and yummy treats!”

Can you believe that this past Sunday was our SIXTH year hosting the Story Time Celebration!?!? We are so thankful to everyone (sponsors, donors, volunteers, celebrities, and guests) that came out to support our cause and make this day a HUGE success! It was wonderful to again see so many people enjoying a few magical hours at the Skirball Cultural Center!

We would like to take this opportunity to recap this crazy fun day for you all and share some of the highlights…

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What would a Milk+Bookies event be without GIVING?? It is our favorite part after all! We are so thankful to have had Discover Books back this year sponsoring us and our efforts to get 3,000 books into the hands of children in need. We set up our very own version of a “bookstore” where kids could come throughout the day to pick a book to inscribe and donate. For their good deed, they would receive a Milk+Bookies “I Donated” sticker! We can’t tell you how amazing it is to see kids walking around absolutely covered in these stickers!!

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From the moment the doors open, you can catch kids flocking towards our arts and crafts tables! This year, kids could make birdcages, flowers, floating clouds, and paper crowns all designed and organized by Little Junebugs. Little Junebugs is also responsible for our photo booth props (pictured below), which were inspired by the launch of their hugely successful photo editing app, “Teensy“, that can be found in the App Store (purchases of the Milk+Bookies sticker upgrade in the app benefit our cause). Thanks to Snapgram for providing the super fun photo booth! In addition, we also offered a fun scavenger hunt, and a spinning wheel of tasks, that if completed, would earn you a special Harry Potter pin! Needless to say, these tables were NEVER empty and the volunteers have the paper cuts to prove it!

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One of the highlights of our event and the thing that constantly gets complemented, are our one of a kind decorations that can be found throughout the ballroom. We have a house, a menagerie of animals, and floating clouds with our recipient organizations names all made from recycled and damaged book pages. (We promise no new books were harmed in the making of the Story Time Celebration!) We have the amazing creative team over at Dutch + Finn Design to thank for these lovely creations and bringing the whimsy that everyone looks forward to!

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Story Time wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t your favorite characters running around! Thanks to the awesome folks over at MagicCharacters.com we had our lovely MC for the day Max from Where the Wild Things Are, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, Pippi Longstocking, Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, Dorothy, Thing 1, Thing 2, Eloise, Willy Wonka, and Pinkalicious!! Talk about a star-studded event!

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Speaking of stars, Milk+Bookies is thrilled to be the recipient of so much interest and love from such talented and amazing individuals. A highlight of our Story Time Celebration is always which celebrities we are going to have reading. Well, this year, we welcomed back amazing readers Dan Bucatinsky, Henry Winkler, Jayma Mays, Julie Bowen, and J.J. Abrams, as well as, new Milk+Bookies supporter Tom Felton!! The Story Time Celebration ballroom was full of your favorite celebrities like Tiffani Theissen, Marla Sokoloff, KaDee Strickland, Danielle Panabaker, Eric Dane, and many more! Thanks to everyone who came out to support us, we are eternally grateful!

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This year we decided to do something a little different and honor a children’s book author that we admired and respected not only for their amazing stories, but their amazing hearts. Dallas Clayton was presented with our special Bookies Bravo Award for his contributions to children’s literature and delighted the audience with an improvised reading of his book “An Awesome Book About Love”!!

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If you follow us on social media (if you don’t, you totally should!), you might have heard us mention our recent take over of the BookEnds programing and creation of the Milk+Bookies affiliate program Leaders+Readers, which hosts school-to-school book drives helping to build libraries in low-income public schools in Los Angeles, while teaching kids the importance of giving back and promoting literacy. Since it’s start a few short months ago, Leaders+Readers has already raised nearly 50,000 books, impacted over 15 schools, and countless children!! The 6th Annual Story Time Celebration was the official launch of our new program and it was so great to share it with all of you!! For more information on the program and how to get involved click here.

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This whole event wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t for our amazing sponsors and donors!! A few we would like to mention is The Land of Nod who provided the beautiful furniture for our stage and green room, DreamWorks Animation “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” for providing our goodie bags, Tiny Prints who made our invites and thank you cards, Tot Squad who provided stroller cleaning services for our guests, Ergobaby and Orbit Baby for providing carriers and a stroller to be given away in our raffle, and McConnell’s Ice Cream for providing a delicious snack for everyone!!

Thanks to the team over at Elements Event Production who helped us put it all together!!

All of the books we collected at this event are being donated to Operation School Bell, who is being so kind as to honor us this weekend! Thanks Operation School Bell!!

We hope to see you all again next year!

Till then, remember to always…

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Alesha Dailey
February
25

Leaders+Readers Spotlight

teeshirtAs one of our previous blogs mentioned, Milk+Bookies has taken over the programming for BookEnds, the leader in school wide book drives in Los Angeles for the last 16 years and responsible for over 2 million books donated to low income schools. It is now operating as the Leaders+Readers program, which hosts school-to-school book drives with the aim of getting out into the community and helping build libraries in low-income public schools, while teaching kids to give back AND promote literacy. It is a really exciting venture and the first time Milk+Bookies has branched out and expanded our mission. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I sat down with our Program Manager for Leaders+Readers, Courtney Collins, to talk all about it. This is what she had to say:

 

Program Manager Courtney (on right) with an LA Earth Angel volunteer at L+R's first Book Drive.

Program Manager Courtney (on right) with an LA Earth Angel volunteer at L+R’s first Book Drive.

What has been your favorite part of Leaders+Readers so far? 

I pretty much love everything about it! It is really fun to talk with the kids who are hosting the book drive before it gets started- setting goals, helping them come up with ideas to make other students within the school know about the drive, and getting them excited about giving back. When I get to visit them a second time, I get to witness the looks of pride on their faces as we pile up all the collected books, in anticipation of sorting, and to watch them get to work boxing and label the books. The whole experience is priceless. I also really, really enjoy meeting with the faculty members of the recipient schools. After every visit, I walk away in awe at the incredible drive, generosity, and kindness of these teachers and principals who are working with limited resources to help enrich the lives of many children living in tough situations and environments. Every principal I have met with from the lower income recipient schools has a firm goal of getting their students reading, no matter the skill level, conditions at home or obstacles. That makes me want to inspire the children hosting book drives as much as possible so that we can supply the volume the recipient school needs.

 

IMG_4246What has the reaction been from kids, parents, teachers, etc.? 

The reaction has been incredibly positive! The very best part of any gratitude piece is the “buddy” letters that are exchanged between the children at each school. I just picked up some thank you notes from a donor school in response to beautiful letters sent from the recipient school. This piece of our program is seriously the most heart warming to me.

 

How many schools has Leaders+Readers gone to so far? How many do you plan to go to throughout the year? 

Milk+Bookies has been involved with this program since late 2014 and we have assisted in fourteen book drives (working with 28 schools). I expect that by the end of the year we will reach forty book drives!

 

What do you hope to accomplish in Leaders+Readers first year? 

First, I hope to make a lasting impression and impact on the fourth graders who I work with from the donor schools, so that they go home and ask their parents if they can host Milk+Bookies book drives at their homes or birthday parties, or ask other ways that they can give back in their community and share their knowledge with more of their peers. Second, I would like to see a great amount of the schools requesting to be a recipient of our drives, to get the books they need.

 

What do you think makes a program like Leaders+Readers so important?

I think that kids, like adults, like to feel involved, important and inspired. Our program lets the children hosting a drive feel like the leaders, givers, and helpers that they are. I believe it leaves lasting impressions and truly makes them feel good about themselves. The affect of that positivity is contagious and lasting.

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Sounds like some great times are ahead and we will be keeping you all updated on its development!

 

In the meantime, follow Milk+Bookies (@milkandbookies) and Leaders+Readers (@leadersandreaderson Instagram for all of our up to date info!

If interested in connecting the Leaders+Readers Book Drive Program with a Los Angeles school, please send an inquiry to bookdrives@milkandbookies.org.

And remember to always READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Alesha Dailey