November
23

Thankful & Grateful

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families!

#READGIVEGROW


by Alesha Dailey
October
27

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Rachel’s Mitzvah Project!

Today’s Book- Raiser Spotlight goes to our #ReadingRockstar, Rachel!

Rachel organized a Milk + Bookies book-raiser for her Mitzvah Project that mobilized her entire community to give back! She invited friends, family, neighbors, and classmates to donate books especially for the students of Title I schools in L.A. served by our Leaders + Readers Program!!

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TOTAL BOOKS RAISED: 1,518!!!

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Students like Rachel continually teach us the importance and joys of giving back. We love hearing about the success of #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS like her, and can’t wait to see where her love of reading and giving takes her!

Way to go, Rachel!

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

READ! GIVE! GROW!

 


by Alesha Dailey
October
5

Happy World Teachers Day!

Today, we celebrate all of the amazing teachers all over the world who work hard to impact our children in the hopes of creating a better future!

According to UNESCO, “World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which celebrated its 50th anniversary during last year’s edition. The 1966 Recommendation constitutes the main reference framework for addressing teachers’ rights and responsibilities on a global scale.”

To learn more about World Teachers Day and how you can celebrate and honor the amazing teachers in your life, visit the UNESCO website here.

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Alesha Dailey
June
23

Summer Book Drop Offs!!

The M+B team has just wrapped up our most successful year of Leaders + Readers yet…donating over 130,000 books to 37 Title I elementary schools in LA that have impacted over 40,000 students!!

 

Just because school is officially out and summer is now here, doesn’t mean the book donations stop. We wanted to celebrate our achievement by kicking off our summer with a BANG and donating an additional 3,500 books to various in need and underserved organizations throughout L.A.! Check out where we went in the map below:

Our efforts are in direct response to the “Summer Slide” phenomenon…

Summer slide” is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.

Unfortunately, children in low-income households fall behind an average of 2 months in reading during the summer. And, summer slide is cumulative, with these learning losses building up each summer.

Our goal in donating large amounts of books to organizations like the ones above each summer, is to prevent any loss in reading achievement and to give ALL students an equal start the following school year.

Reading just 4 to 6 books over the summer has the potential to prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from the spring to the fall, so even small steps are very beneficial.

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Help us beat summer slide and close the achievement gap in L.A. schools by donating books this summer! Contact us for more details on how you can get involved: info@milkandbookies.org.

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Alesha Dailey
March
22

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Heron School

Today’s Book- Raiser Spotlight goes to our friends all the way in Sacramento at the Heron School!

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This year marks the Heron School’s 2nd Milk + Bookies Book Raiser! Home of the Heron Flyers, 50 kids, parents, and teachers came together to raise over 60 books. The books they raised will be donated to homeless and foster youth within their school district, exemplifying the Milk + Bookies mission to impact underserved children right in your own community!

CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED: 50

TOTAL BOOKS RAISED: 60…and counting!

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Great work Heron School! These students teach us that it’s never too early to learn the joys of giving. We love hearing about the success of #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS like them and can’t wait to see where their love of reading and giving takes them!

Way to go, Flyers!

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

Join us and start making a difference in your own community. Find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser here and purchase your Bookies Box!

For some inspiration on how to make your Book-Raiser stand out, follow our Pinterest page!

READ! GIVE! GROW!

 


by Megan Tambio
March
9

8th Annual Story Time Celebration Recap

It’s that time of year again! Quicker than you can say “I Love Books!”, our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration came and went…and what a party it was! We could not have done it without the support of so many amazing guests, celebs, volunteers, and partners. We owe every ounce of our success to ALL OF YOU!!

This year’s Story Time was truly a labor of love and we would like to take this opportunity to recap some of our favorite moments from this incredible day…

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First and foremost, the BIGGEST THANK YOU goes to our incredible hosts and event partners at HD Buttercup in Culver City! Not only did they DONATE this space for the event, they gave us the run of the store that morning where we were able to utilize their beautiful furniture to create a truly unique and cozy Story Time for everyone to enjoy. Seriously, how gorgeous was this space?!?!

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“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!”

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There was plenty to see and do at the event! Kids started off by taking our “Future Philanthropist Oath” wherein they promised to uphold the valuable lessons taught to them in their favorite books and to always give back to others. At our book store you could purchase some awesome M+B swag, buy a book, or donate one to a future Leader + Reader. Thanks to the generosity of our attendees and our book supply partners at Discover Books, we were able to donate over 2,000 books!

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In addition to special guest readings on the Story Time Stage, kids could make crafts from recycled book pages (created by the amazing Courtney Collins of little junebugs), play games with some Magic Characters (including Harry Potter, Pippy Longstocking, The Mad Hatter, and Captain Hook), participate in an exciting scavenger hunt with a super cool book necklace prize from Ann Williams Group, or grab a handcrafted treat from an amazing taffy artist!

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We were happy to have the support of both veteran and new VIP guests this year. Story Time readers included Julie Steines & Norbert the Dog, Greg Grunberg & illustrating partner Lucas Turnbloom, Mark Feuerstein, Henry Winkler, Dan Bucatinsky and our special Reading Champion 2017 Julie Bowen (she’s been with us since the very first Story Time!). Other special attendees included David Walton, KaDee Strickland, Jason Behr, Lindsay Sloane and our dear friend, Tom Everett Scott

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Arly Scott also performed her deliciously happy song “Pumpkin Pancakes” (check out her music video here!). And, lastly, but certainly not least, a HUGE THANK YOU to our MC, Adam Mellema, who kept the show running smoothly and provided the perfect mix of whimsy and fun that kept all attendees totally enraptured.

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Now, what’s a party without delicious goodies?!?! There was an ice cream truck, a coffee cart, snacks galore, a raw bar “boat”, picnic fare, and, of course, milk & cookies! We had so many wonderful partners and sponsors who went above and beyond donating supplies and tasty treats that kept both attendees and volunteers alike fueled and happy. Thank you to: Ripple Foods, Thyme Cafe and Market, Cast Iron Catering LA, Mrs. Thinsters, Organic Kids LA, Go Go Squeez, Bare Snacks, Ralph’s / Food 4 Less, Rockenwagner Bakery, Cheeky, McConnell’s Ice Cream, and Coffee Commissary. DELICIOUS!

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Several partners also generously donated some awesome prizes for our raffle, including $300 in blowouts plus a gift basket full of hair goodies from Drybar, a five class pass for SoulCycle, four 50- minute massages from The Now, a fabulous one night stay in the King Suite along with valet parking and a complimentary breakfast at Langham Huntington Hotel Pasadena, a 10 day pass at Steve & Kate’s Camp, and a $1000 gift card plus a design consultation with VP of Design and Retail, Skye Westcott, from our generous hosts at HD Buttercup. We even auctioned off some of our iconic (and stylish!) paper animals created by the genius team at Dutch + Finn to some very lucky guests!

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It goes without saying that a lot goes into planning Story Time every year…That’s why everyone here at Team M+B is especially thankful to HD Buttercup for hosting us, Morgan Pansing for snapping some gorgeous photos, Dutch + Finn for designing our whimsical decorations, Chideo for shooting event video, our pro-bono PR team from DKC Impact, and Traci Hoffberg Events for helping bring the whole event together.

Perhaps most importantly, we’d like to thank everyone who came to #STC8, both new and returning guests. Your support allows us to celebrate story time every day and continue to spread the love of reading to underserved children who don’t have access to the books they need to thrive. Because of YOU, through initiatives like our Los Angeles based Leaders + Readers program we’ve been able to donate over 400,000 books to over 60 Title I elementary schools!

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See you next year! And, remember to always…

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
March
1

Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner

One poet begs an important question: Could you hug a cactus?

8x10We’re elated to introduce you to our Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner. The poet’s new book “Could You Hug a Cactus?” is a fun, soulful throwback to Dr. Seuss with poems that will make you laugh at its wit and tear up at its heart. The poems’ topics may sound silly (a girl with a large robot friend, a man with unusually long arms, a cactus in need of a hug) but each of Van Wagoner’s poems offer surprising food for thought.

Gorgeously illustrated by Spencer Smith, “Could You Hug a Cactus?” recently won the Moon Beam Children’s Book Award for Children’s Poetry. Phillip Van Wagoner will also be competing in the March Madness Poetry Competition this month hosted by ThinkKidThink! as 1 of 64 ‘Authletes’.

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We were lucky enough to interview Mr. Wagoner as our Author Champion:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a writer and creator! 

Originally from Michigan, I moved around a lot when I was younger so I went to a lot of different schools and met a lot of different friends. I grew up with a small library of Dr. Seuss books, and absolutely loved reading Oh Say Can You Say?, his book of tongue-twisters, before bed at night.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I found myself getting these silly rhyming lines stuck in my head while I was at work . So, I’d stop, and jot them down, and then go back to work – but I’d always come back to them. After a while, I had written 10, 20, 50 poems (and a couple were actually pretty good!) and I started sharing them. I absolutely loved seeing people laugh when I’d read them aloud – and that was it – I was hooked.

Now, when I’m not producing a TV show, hanging out with my fiancée, or walking my amazing dog, I find as much time as I can to write and share these silly poems.

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2. What inspired you to write “Could You Hug a Cactus” and how long did it take you?

The poems in Could You Hug a Cactus? were chosen out of folders full of poems I had written over nine years – so it’s a little hard to say. But once we decided to put the book together, the process took about two years from concept to actual, physical book.

3. The poems in the book run the gamut of emotion, from sweet to silly. If you had to choose, what would be the one thing you want people to take away from your work?

In one sentence – “Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?” The title poem asks the question directly, while poems like “Hero”, “Buttons”, and “Edward vs the Mannequin” offer up characters with unexpected shortcomings or skills. Throughout the book, we tried to find new ways of approaching that question.

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“Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?”

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4. What’s your personal favorite poem in the book? Why?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I’ll go with “Words are Words” because it’s the only poem in the book where Spencer’s incredible acrylic illustrations don’t steal all my thunder!

 

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, illustrators, poets, etc? 

Yeah, definitely! I’ll give the same advice I try to remember every day. Write fearlessly! You don’t have to show anyone else what you put down on the page, so just write and worry about the editing later. It’s only when you let yourself put it all out there that you find those things that are really special.

 

6. And, finally, what is your all time FAVORITE book?

In third grade, I actually remember the moment when I pulled Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends off the shelf and looked at it for the first time. That book made a huge impression on me. Here was this adult who “got it”. The book was hilarious and heartfelt and sometimes a little dark – but it was always honest. As outrageous as some of the poems were, I could relate to the characters and understood the decisions they were making. That’s my #1.IMG_3464

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Order your copy of “Could You Hug a Cactus?” here.

A huge thanks to Phillip Van Wagoner for reminding us that while sometimes we’re a little prickly, we all could use a hug!

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READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
21

Redecorate Your Life with H.D. Buttercup

Decorating can be tough. Entire professions and shows on HGTV can attest to this…

Want to make it a little easier? Check out H.D. Buttercup – our friends, partners, and HOST of our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration!

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What sets H.D. Buttercup apart is its dedication to curating unique, top-quality pieces for each of its locations.

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We are so beyond thrilled (and LUCKY!) that their Culver City location will be playing host to our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration taking place on February 26th, 2017. During Story Time, our guests will receive 10% off ALL items in-store. But wait – there’s more! H.D. Buttercup has also generously provide a super special raffle prize that can be won at the event. Enter and you’ll have a shot at a $1,000 H.D. Buttercup gift card AND a one-on-one design consultation with their VP of Design and Retail, Skye Westcott, who will lend her keen eye for style and years of experience to make your design dreams come true!!

Check out some of their amazing interior designs below and get inspired!

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“At H.D. Buttercup, we see the home as a reflection of self,” their website reads. “Our in-house team of design consultants are on hand to carefully curate this journey.”

Get your tickets to Story Time by visiting, conta.cc/2dj2KrK TODAY!!!

#STC8 #SupportLiteracy

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
15

Enjoy the Flavors of Cast Iron Catering

America – land of the free, home of the brave, country of the foodies! Our friends over at Cast Iron Catering  know the importance of authentic, local flavor, which is why we’re so thrilled they’re sponsoring and catering our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration!

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Cast Iron Catering prides itself on variety – whether it be taste in food or type of event.

“Our mission is to provide a truly tailored experience for each client from black tie events, clam bakes, backyard barbecues or a romantic dinner for two, ” their mission statement says.

The result? Organic, locally- sourced food that’ll make your mouth water. Feast your eyes:

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To find out more about Cast Iron Catering, visit their website HERE!

And, don’t forget to purchase your tickets to our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration on February 26th, 2017 at HD Buttercup in Culver City where you can get a taste of the amazing-ness that is Cast Iron Catering plus enjoy celebrity story time, arts & crafts, games, & more! Fun for the whole family!

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
8

Mrs. Thinster’s is a Cookie Dream!

We here at Milk + Bookies value snack time almost as much as we do reading! You can probably already guess what our favorite snack is (hint: it rhymes with ‘Bookies’). That’s why we are thrilled to introduce our newest partner and sponsor for our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration: Mrs. Thinster’s!

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You’ve probably seen our fabulous baking friend popping up more and more at your local grocery store. That’s because Mrs. Thinster’s cookies are more than just delicious – they’re unique! Thin and extra crispy, Mrs. Thinster’s combines the awesomeness of cookies and your favorite bag of chips.

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Mrs. Thinster’s comes in 10 tasty flavors that offers something for the purists and rebels alike including classic Chocolate Chip and decadent Coconut Fudge. Better yet – all of Mrs. Thinster’s products are Non- GMO, nut allergen-free, and made with simple ingredients – aka “nothing you can’t pronounce”.

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Our ultimate cookie crush is also socially conscious. With their “Share a Cookie, Share a Smile” campaign, Mrs. Thinster’s helps donate their products to those in need- from schools, to the homeless, to our troops overseas.  Mrs. Thinster’s website proudly declares:

“We believe that the simples of joys can be found in food. After all, it is food that brings people together at the table.”

 

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Get your Mrs. Thinster’s cookies at our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration taking place on February 26th, 2017 at HD Buttercup in Culver City from 11am-2pm! Tickets on sale here!

#bakedwithlove


by Megan Tambio