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Kiwanis Book Bus makes reading even more fun

Steven Hadt | Mar 02, 2018

Kiwanis club creates signature project to improve literacy

Kiwanis club creates signature project to improve literacy Kids cheer as the Book Bus pulls into the parking lot of their elementary school. The library on wheels is there to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss. It's a day to celebrate reading.

The Book Bus — a project of the Kiwanis Club of Manatee Sunrise — came about after members brainstormed ideas for a signature project in 2015. After talking, they realized all their ideas involved literacy. Fate stepped in when a member happened upon on a library selling an old book bus on the internet. Soon after, a Kiwanian was driving the bus home to Bradenton, Florida, USA.

"We were all so excited. We just wanted to fill it up," says Jessica Pelot, a member of the club. "Reading is the foundation of everything in life."

The bus didn't come with books, which posed a problem for the club because members planned to drive the library to elementary and middle schools, camps for migrant workers and other events to give free books to kids who didn't have books at home.

"We gave the Key Clubbers a project to fill the bus," says Pelot. "We got thousands of books that way."

Kiwanis club creates signature project to improve literacy At one recent event, there were dozens of kids in line, waiting their turn to climb the stairs and browse the shelves to find the perfect book to take home. And teachers love to see the bus when it pulls into the parking lot at one of the nearby camps for farm workers who travel from region to region planting, tending and harvesting crops.

"We have books in Spanish, but these books help kids learn English," Pelot says. "We want all kids to feel the love of reading."

The Book Bus is starting to show its age. Plus, there's a leak that no one has been able to identify. The club is raising money to buy a replacement, but a new one can cost as much as US$250,000.

"We're going to use this one until we can't anymore," Pelot says. "The kids love it. They get so excited. Their faces light up. This gives us a chance to make reading exciting."

Kiwanis club creates signature project to improve literacy

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