Monday, December 29, 2008

Join the “Year of Readers” Read-A-Thon

Book lover and blogger Jodie Baker has launched a year-long read-a-thon called “The Year of Readers” and she is inviting avid readers to sign up on her blog to help raise money for charities involved in literacy and education.

Readers pledge an amount of money, big or small, for every book they read during 2009 (or get sponsors).

Reader To Reader is one of the charities that readers can designate for donations.

Please visit her blog and join the fun!

Three cheers for Jodie Baker for such a fine idea.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Cami Elbow who won the Reader To Reader raffle. Cami won an original, framed, signed illustration by Chris Raschka from Sour Puss and Sweetie Pie by Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth.

The illustration is valued at $1,500.

Our special thanks to Chris Raschka for donating this wonderful piece of artwork.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hadley Barnes & Noble Holds Holiday Book Drive

The Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Hadley, MA, is holding their annual Holiday Book Drive to benefit Reader To Reader and other worthy organizations.

Stop by during your holiday shopping and pick up a book to be donated to Reader To Reader.

Our special thanks to Barnes & Noble and all the thoughtful customers who have donated books!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Generous Donation from Ken Schoen

A special thank you to rare book dealer Ken Schoen of Schoen Books for the latest of his many generous donations of books to aid Reader To Reader. Ken has donated thousands of books over the last three years.

Schoen Books, based in South Deerfield, MA, specializes in Judaica in all languages, but especially German Judaica, books on the Holocaust, exile and refugee writers, Israel, and psychoanalysis.

His enormous collection of books is housed in a beautiful 1930s WPA-built firehouse.

Ken Schoen became a book dealer in 1990 and he has been traveling widely purchasing fine scholarly libraries. He was formerly a public school teacher and social worker in New York City.

Please visit Schoen books online or visit him in person. Schoen Books maintains an open shop during weekdays and on Sunday by appointment. South Deerfield in Western Massachusetts is about 90 miles west of Boston (just South of Route 2), about 80 miles East of Albany, and 30 minutes North of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Springfield. Browsers are welcome, but calling ahead is advisable. He might be out walking the dog!

Ken’s also got a very interesting blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sign of the Times

Reader To Reader has always been such a frugal operation that we went many years without our own phone number. We went even longer without a sign!

Now, thanks to Amherst College, we have a brand new sign pointing the way to our home in the basement of the Cadigan Center.

We feel like we have arrived! You will too when you come to drop off books.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our students Were Thrilled

Dear Reader to Reader,

Our students were thrilled to be able to pick out two or more books from the selection you sent to our school. Thank you so much for making this opportunity available to our Pre-K through Grade Eight students.

Darlene Wheeler
Bay Ridge Elementary
Cutler, Maine

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Julius Lester Drops In

It’s always a great day when a literary giant visits Reader To Reader.

Julius Lester, author of 43 books and recipient of numerous awards, dropped in to donate copies of a number of his books, including five copies each of Let's Talk About Race and Guardian.

Lester’s awards include the Newberry Honor Medal, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, National Book Award Finalist, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award.

In addition to the book donation he also had kind words about our work.

"Bringing books and readers together is, in my opinion, holy work. Reader To Reader does such work quietly and effectively. Thank you." -- Julius Lester

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Eyewitness Books are Fabulous!

Dear David,

The Eyewitness Books are FABULOUS!!! Zoobooks are also a huge hit!

Much Thanks,

Lisa Mutter-Gendreau
Henry J. Winters Elementary
Pawtucket, RI

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Perfect Holiday Gifts

Do your holiday shopping and help Reader To Reader by purchasing a fabulous piece of signed original children’s illustration.

Award-winning artists John Agee, Leonard Baskin (courtesy of Lisa Baskin), Tony Diterlizzi, Jane Dyer, Jules Feiffer, Mordecai Gerstein, Lauren Mills, Barry Moser, Dennis Nolan, Jerry Pinkney, Chris Raschka, David Small, Mark Teague, Rosemary Wells, and Mo Willems have donated beautiful works to help us fundraise.

Works are priced 20% below market value. 80% of purchase price helps support Reader to Reader. All works are beautifully framed.

Pay listed price and take the artwork home today. Or make a serious offer, and if you are not outbid by December 15th, you will get the piece in time for the holidays.

To see the artwork visit R. Michaelson Gallery online or stop by the gallery.

A special thank you to all the artists for their generous donations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Computers Too!

In addition to the millions of books we donate we are now donating computers too!

Reading mentors Nathan Nash and Grace Li help pack a Dell computer bound for the Navajo Reservation.

The Dell Optiplex GX 270 computer, with a flat screen monitor, is the first computer donation that Reader To Reader has made and will be the first of 30 to be donated this year.

The refurbished computer was donated by Amherst College and will be used as part of the Navajo Mentoring Program’s online book discussions, as well as for their other computer needs.

The computer was serviced and prepped by the IT department so that it is completely ready to run right out of the box.

Our goal is to build a new computer lab at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, NM, replacing their ancient 10-12-year-old computers with computers that are 3-4-years-old.

Our thanks to Amherst College and their IT department for making these computers available for donation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Honoring Norton Juster

We are very pleased to honor distinguished author Norton Juster for his support of Reader To Reader and his lifetime devotion to literacy. Juster is the first recipient of the Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy. The award will be presented annually.

Juster received a plaque from Reader To Reader founder David Mazor at Sunday’s 19th Annual Children's Illustration Exhibition in Northampton, MA.

The author of the children’s classics The Phantom Toll Booth and The Dot and the Line, Juster was one of the first supporters of Reader To Reader during our earliest days. Over the years he has donated thousands of books from his personal collection and has been a vocal advocate of our cause.

“Reader To Reader is such a simple idea and such a farsighted one – provide books for students of all ages who don’t have them. I can’t think of a worthier endeavor or one that will have a more profound effect,” Juster notes.

And we can't think of a more worthy person to honor than Norton. Three cheers for Norton Juster!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Join Us For A Special Event On Sunday, Nov. 16

Please join us Sunday November 16 for a special fundraising event for Reader To Reader & honoring Norton Juster for his devotion to literacy.

Sunday, November 16, 4pm - 6pm
Most artists will be present!

R. Michelson Galleries
132 Main Street
Northampton, MA

(Admission is free)

Refreshments generously donated by Whole Foods Market and Atkins Farms Country Market.

R. Michelson Galleries has generously dedicated their Nineteenth Annual Children's Illustration Exhibition to benefit Reader To Reader.

A percentage of all sales will go to Reader To Reader
and the reception will feature special works that many artists have donated to help raise funds for our organization. We will be raffling off one of the illustrations at the reception.

Come and meet many of these famous illustrators and join us in a special ceremony honoring Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth and most recently Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie, and an early advocate of Reader To Reader. We are pleased to recognize Norton for his devotion to literacy.

The event features the works of these new artists to R. Michelson Galleries:

Mo Willems - Three time Caldecott Honor Recipient
Jarrett Krosoczka - One of Print's top 20 visual artists under 30 (2003).
Raul Colon - Recipient of the Society of Illustrators' gold and silver medals.
Ron Mazellan - Illustrator of The Longest Season, NY Times top ten best seller.
Chris Raschka - Author and illustrator of Yo! Yes? one of School Library Journal's 100 books that shaped the century.

And Celebrate their Current Artists

Mary Azarian
Kathryn Brown
Diane deGroat
Tony Diterlizzi
Jane Dyer

Plus featured guest artists helping to support
Reader to Reader through a special donation of their artwork

Eric Carle
Jerry Pinkney
David Small
Rosemary Wells
John Agee
Mark Teague
John Muth

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Meet the Reading Mentors

The Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program reading mentors gathered the other night for a meeting and group photo. They are a great bunch from all over the world.

We have mentors from across the United States and Nigeria, Guatemala, China and Egypt. Their diverse backgrounds add to the richness of the mentoring program.

The Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program connects Amherst College students with public school children in Alabama, Arizona, and Boston, Chicopee and Springfield, Massachusetts for online book discussions.

Reader To Reader trains and supervises the mentors and supplies all the books for the schools and mentors.

Some of the books being read this semester include: Bridge to Terabithia, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Outsiders.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Very Happy Readers

Hi David,

We have very happy Marsh readers!

Thank you to all of your donors!

Sheila O'Gorman
Marsh Elementary School
Chicago, IL

Monday, October 27, 2008

Final Reflections

The Navajo Pine High School students visiting Amherst reflected on their trip. The verdict?

"Life changing!"


"It opened me up to a world of careers!"

"Thank you all!

"I'm so happy I came on this trip. I had so much fun!"

"I love Reader to Reader!"

"It was sooo much fun!"

“You changed me inside and out!”

Thank you David White and Exclusive Car Service for donating the comfy ride to the airport!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enjoying Fall in New England

Is there any better way to see the fall foliage than the beautiful view of the Connecticut River Valley from the Summit House at the top of Mount Holyoke?

The Navajo Mentoring Program students finished up their visit to New England by enjoying panoramic views and taking lots of pictures including this group photo.

Yes, we call these itty bitty things mountains!

At just under 1,000 feet Mount Holyoke comes up a bit short compared to New Mexico’s Wheeler Peak, which tops out at 13,161 feet. But you can a great view of Amherst, Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield, Massachusetts. There is also New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock to the north and Mount Greylock to the west.

Lots and lots of smiles!

What a great way to finish our visit!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Room Full of Inspiration!

The Amherst College Athletics Department gave the Navajo Mentoring Program students a fantastic, inspirational morning focused on the role of sports in a college career.

After a warm introduction, Assistant Athletic director Billy McBride took us on a tour of the facilities, including showing the students the weight room.

Fitness isn't just for athletes he pointed out. Then it was time for a group discussion. NCAA National Champion men’s basketball coach, David Hixon, shared his coaching insights.

They also got terrific advice from volleyball and softball coach Sue Everden, track coach Erik Nedeau, and women’s basketball coach G.P. Gromacki.

It was a very motivating, inspiring morning. After all, they are in the motivation business!

A very special thanks to Assistant Athletic Director Billy McBride and Athletic Director Suzanne Coffey for organizing the gathering.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Exploring the Robotics Lab

The Navajo Mentoring Program students got to see the latest in cutting-edge robots when they visited the Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics at the University of Massachusetts.

The Lab studies “computational systems that solve sensory and motor problems. Experimental platforms include sensor networks, mobile manipulators, and integrated bimanual humanoids. Current projects focus on dexterous, force-guided manipulation, knowledge representations grounded in closed-loop interaction, human-robot interaction and communication, and computational models for learning and development.”

The students not only got to see groundbreaking work in robotics but also saw how the study of robotics begins by watching first year students learning to build very basic robots.

Talking to the Press

The Navajo Mentoring Program student visit to Amherst drew a lot of press attention, including the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Springfield Republican, and WGGB-TV 40. By the end of the visit the students had become old hands at being interviewed.

Here Kyle Clark is interviewed by Springfield Republican reporter Diane Lederman.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cheering on the Celtics!

It was a dream team-up that made a dream come true! The defending NBA champion Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers were on the same side when it came to the Navajo Mentoring Program. The two teams teamed up to donate tickets so the visiting students could attend their first NBA game.

The students loved every minute of the game. They cheered like old pros.

Time for a Slice of Antonio’s Pizza

No college student in the Amherst area can live for long without a slice of Antonio’s Pizza. It seems to rank right up there with air.

The Navajo Mentoring Program students got to find their own favorite slices, with pineapple and ham seeming to compete with BBQ chicken and the taco pizza as favorites.

Now they really know about college life!

Learning About Web Design

One of the presentations that most captivated the students in the Navajo Mentoring Program was Howard Hanna’s inside look at the world of Internet Web design.

The students got a hands on presentation where they learned about the HTML code that makes Web sites function. The presentation was scheduled for 45 minutes but ran twice as long because the students were completely enthralled. Several students loved the presentation so much that they want to become Web designers.

A special thanks to Howard Hanna for an amazing look inside the Internet.

Touring a College Campus

There’s nothing more perfect than a beautiful fall day to tour a college campus.

The Navajo Mentoring Program students learned about campus life at a small New England college when their reading mentor, Kathryn Libby, gave them a tour of the Amherst College campus.

The students also spent time on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, which offered them a contrasting look at the atmosphere of a big university.

The Amherst College tour took them across the main Quadrangle, through the library, dining hall, into classrooms, and the Campus Center. The tour finished with a visit to Libby’s dorm room, where they discussed the process of choosing and living with a roommate.

Getting a Charge Out of Laser Tag

The Navajo Mentoring Program students finished up the day having some fun playing Laser Tag.

The students particularly relished a round that featured their teachers, Reader to Reader staff, and the reading mentors versus the students.

The students won handily.

Even Navajo Pine High School Principal Henry Henderson got in the action!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Inside Northfire Recording Studio

The staff of Northfire Recording Studio took the Navajo Mentoring Program students into the world of 192-track recording. The state of the art studio has produced albums for groups such as The Alchemystics, Leah Randazzo, and Loose Caboose, to name a few.

The Northfire staff spent over two hours showing the students the technology that goes into modern sound recording and talking about the career of sound engineer. They also learned about the business side of financing and running a studio.

The students got their own turn at the piano, percussion, and singing into the microphone, and then watched and listened as the sound engineers digitally looped the recording and manipulated it to shape the sound into many different forms.

Our thanks to the staff of Northfire Studio for such an educational experience.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When Giants Roamed the Earth

The Navajo Mentoring Program team explored life in the Connecticut River Valley hundreds of millions of years ago with a visit to Amherst College’s Museum of Natural History.

The beautiful, new, glass-fronted building is the fifth generation of natural history museums at Amherst College and features free standing fossil skeletons of a mammoth, mastodon, dire wolf, saber-toothed cat, Irish Elk and cave bear. It also features skulls of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The World of TV News

WGGB-TV Channel 40 morning anchor Faye Hoffman took time on her day off to give the Navajo Mentoring Program students an in-depth tour of the TV station.

She detailed the many jobs that are required to put together a newscast, both on camera and behind-the-scenes. Here she shows the green screen that is used for the weather report.

Hoffman explained her own journey from high school in eastern Washington to Washington State University and into the world of broadcast journalism.

The students learned the key role that internships play in launching your career as Hoffman detailed how her summer internship at KNDO-TV in Yakima, Washington helped land her first job at a small station in Twin Falls, Idaho. The students also learned about the passion, drive and determination it takes to succeed in a highly competitive business.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sushi was a hit!

Knives were flashing, flames were leaping, shrimp were flying through the air (tossed by the chef) and people were laughing.

The Navajo Mentoring Program students had their first ever taste of sushi and Japanese food as they delighted in the high energy, full sensory experience at Arigato Japanese Steakhouse.

There were a few nervous looks when the sushi was brought out. The consensus? Sushi was a hit!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Exploring the Magic Behind the Stage

The Navajo Mentoring Program students explored Amherst College’s Theatre Department, learning about the many jobs that go on behind the scenes in order to put on a play.

Jonathan Doyle and the staff of the Theatre Department explained that it takes five weeks to build the sets for a student production. They took the students through the computerized production drawings, model building, and the set building process. They also learned about lighting design and how each of the staff had gone from high school, to college, and into their career.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Navajo students find possibilities

(Andrea A. Albert, left, and Dakota Thomas, both 15, look through books in the Reader to Reader Inc. office in the Cadigan Center for Religious Life at Amherst College earlier this week. The girls are part of a group of eight students from the Navajo Pine School in Navajo, N. M., who are visiting Western Massachusetts.)

Springfield Republican
Sunday, October 12, 2008

AMHERST - They live in a community of less than 2,000 people and virtually everyone who lives there is Navajo like them.

Their town of Navajo, N.M., has a supermarket and gas station, two schools, a church, day-care center, fire department and that's about it, according to 16-year-old Bettina Kinlichinie.

While Kinlichinie and the seven other students were a little apprehensive about boarding a plane and traveling 2,300 miles to a place they had never seen, what awaited them in places like Springfield, Hadley and Amherst has been "life changing," she said.

Kinlichinie and her friends were brought here this week by Reader To Reader Inc., which began a mentoring program with these students and Amherst College about a year ago, said David S. Mazor, Reader to Reader Inc., founding executive director. The students and their college counterparts read the same books and discussed them online. Amherst College mentors visited the Navajo students in May, he said.

On their five day trip, the high school students visited such places as the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Amherst College's Mead Art Museum, sat in at a session at the Springfield Housing Court and met with Judge Dina E. Fein and attorney Myles Jacobson. They also went behind the scenes of the Amherst College Theater Department.

"They don't have a lot of opportunity," Mazor said. "The graduation rates are very low." The idea was to bring them here to introduce them to people in all types of careers, so it "would give them a reason to stay in school. "We wanted to connect them with (people who have) the passion they have for their careers."

Kyle S. Clark, 17, is a junior who recently moved from Navajo to Albuquerque, to attend a city school. The others on the trip still attend Navajo Pine High School.

Clark enjoyed observing Springfield Housing Court and learned that to be a judge, "you don't have to be a lawyer. That was really interesting," he said.

At court he talked to Jacobson about law. He never had the chance to talk one on one with a lawyer before. Clark said the talk is "going to make me work harder. It's going to make me pursue my dream."

Meeting Amherst College Assistant Athletic Director Billy T. McBride and the other stable of Amherst College coaches, helped Clark realize he can be a better basketball player "if I set my mind to it. That gave me some confidence."

Kinlichinie, a junior, particularly enjoyed a session on Web design with Amherst College Web developer Howard J. Hanna.

"Before, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to go into," she said.

While Mazor founded Reader to Reader Inc. about six years ago to provide books free of charge to needy school libraries and public libraries across the United States, it was through that program he found the need in this community transcended that.

He did a lot of fund-raising to bring the students here and was aided by Amherst College and places such as Whole Foods in Hadley and the Pub here, which provided free meals.

Reader to Reader is holding a fund-raiser Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. at the 19th annual Children's Illustration Exhibition at Michelson Gallery in Northampton, an event that is honoring author Norton Juster.

In addition, Reader to Reader is trying to raise money to bring the eight Navajo students back for a month next summer. Those wishing to donate to that venture may send a check to Reader To Reader, Inc. c/o Cadigan Center, 38 Woodside Ave., Amherst, MA 01002. Donors should mark it for the Navajo Pine High School project.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reader To Reader on TV!

Watch ABC Channel 40-TV’s feature on Chef Bill Collin’s fantastic cooking class with the students in the Navajo Mentoring Program. A very big thank you to Chef Bill for donating his time and expertise and to Whole Foods Market in Hadley for the mountain of food.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Exploring the Art Museum

Our visiting Navajo Mentoring program students explored the world of art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

Educator Christine Pagliav started us off by taking us back in time over 3,000 years as she explained what the museum knows and doesn’t know about its ancient Assyrian Reliefs.

The students then explored the works of great artists, including Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Monet, and Rubens.

We discussed the various styles; the precision of the realist paintings and the texture of the impressionist works.

For all the students this was their first time in an art museum. They all said it wouldn’t be their last.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thought Provoking, Informative and Delicious!

The second day of our Navajo Pine High School student visit to Amherst was amazing.

We started our day with a fascinating discussion with noted screenwriter Daniel Giat; the Emmy-nominated writer of the HBO movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

They discovered the passion of the writer to bring a personal vision to life on the screen.

The students engaged in a provocative and thought provoking discussion on making Native American films historically accurate in the context of Hollywood and the entertainment world.

Next up was learning about the legal profession from lawyer Myles Jacobson. Attorney Jacobson took the students into the courtroom where they not saw the court in action but met the judge when she came down from the bench and spent time talking with the students.

Time for dinner!

Tonight’s menu, Chicken Cacciatore, green beans, a heavenly salad, and an apple compote served over ice cream, all cooked by Chef Bill Collins and the students.

Chef Bill taught an inspiring, engaging and absolutely delicious cooking class, taking the students into the world of the culinary arts.

What an amazing day!

Our special thanks for the donation of time and wisdom from Daniel Giat, Myles Jacobson and Chef Bill Collins. They really gave from the heart to these students.

And a very special thanks to Whole Foods in Hadley for hosting our group and donating hundreds of dollars of food.


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Adventure Begins

8:00am at Emily’s Bed and Breakfast in Amherst, MA. Time to start our day.

The first day of our Navajo Pine High School student visit to Amherst was quite an adventure. Our goals: Experience a bit of New England; learn about an interesting career, and have some fun on a gorgeous fall day.

The students started their day learning about broadcast journalism from Faye Hoffman, the morning anchorwoman at Channel 40 TV.

Then we headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame where the students explored the interactive exhibits. We had a very interesting group discussion on the kind of drive you need to be a journalist or a Hall of Fame basketball player. Hmm, that seems to be a theme!

Then we were off to Six Flags New England for another theme: Life has to be fun!

We finished our day with a fabulous dinner at The Pub in Amherst. We ate until we were bursting!

We thank Channel 40 TV for donating their time, The Basketball Hall of Fame for giving us free tours and the fabulous lunch from Max’s, and The Pub for generously donating an incredible dinner.

Now on to day two!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Navajo Pine Students Arrive in Amherst

Navajo Pine High School students have arrived in Amherst after a long day flying from New Mexico. The students will be spending a very exciting week learning about college life and a host of careers that come from going to college. The trip is a part of Reader To Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program, which works with students on the Navajo Reservation.

Here they settle into their bed and breakfast and enjoy some midnight pizza. The pizza drew a thumbs up.

The students all agreed one thing; they are ready for an adventure.

First thing in the morning they will be up and running visiting Channel 40 TV in Springfield to learn about broadcast journalism. Then they will head to the Basketball Hall of Fame followed by Six Flags New England. They will finish it with a dinner at The Pub Restaurant in Amherst.

Now that’s an exciting day!

P.S. Three cheers for Exclusive Car Service for donating airport pickup in their cushy limo bus.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lubec Consolidated School No Longer Has a Librarian

Our Maine School Book Project, which is generously funded by the Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation, has begun shipping books for the new school year. The Project aids rural Maine schools which have been hit particularly hard with the economic downturn. Here is the first letter we have received from the “easternmost town in the U.S.”

Dear Mr. Mazor:

Lubec Consolidated School students and teachers are very appreciative of the books you have sent us through Reader To Reader’s Maine School Book Project. I spoke to a project representative just last week, and was very pleased to receive the latest box of books so quickly. Our budget allowance for new books is very limited, and the excellent assortment of titles will appeal to a wide variety of student interests.

Due to school subsidy cuts, Lubec Consolidated School no longer has a librarian, although the students and teachers do still use the resources of the school library. A volunteer has been keeping books in order, and the addition of new titles is very welcome.

Thank you for your support of our school.

Margaret D. Bailey
Lubec Consolidated School
Lubec, Maine

Friday, September 19, 2008

400 Dictionaries, 400 Smiles!

On our recent trip to the Navajo reservation we learned of an urgent need for dictionaries.

Navajo Pine High School and Middle School were in desperate need of dictionaries. There were only a handful of dictionaries in both schools. We immediately went to work trying to solve this problem and fortunately we were able to deliver over 400 paperback dictionaries so every student would have one of their own.

The dictionaries came through the generous donation of the Rotary Club of Amherst.

Rotary clubs are big supporters of literacy and donate thousands of dictionaries to projects worldwide. The Rotary Club of Amherst responded to our call for dictionaries without a moment’s hesitation and we owe a special thanks to the Rotary Club and Leslie Smith for making this great resource available.

Here is a note from Navajo Pine:

“Well, I can't thank you enough! 8 boxes of 24 where just delivered to my classroom! You and your group are outstanding. Thank you again. The students will benefit tremendously. They will also be sending the thank you notes along soon.

Thank you again."

Linda L. Brown
Language Arts Teacher
Navajo Middle School
Navajo, NM

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Corinna Lopez Joins Reader To Reader Staff

Bowdoin graduate Corinna Lopez will be spending her first year after college as our newest staff member. Corinna will be the Assistant to the Executive Director, helping coordinate next month’s trip to Amherst by Navajo Pine High School students, and lending a much needed hand to a host of other projects.

Corinna has a special history with Reader To Reader. When our organization was in its infancy, Corinna was our first community volunteer. She came dutifully every day after high school to help sort and pack books. We are so pleased to welcome her to our paid staff. We hope she has a great year and know we will with her on board.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Entire Kiley Staff Appreciates Your Gift

Dear David,

Thank you so much for your extremely generous donation of all the books. They are absolutely beautiful! We have distributed most of them to classroom libraries and kept a couple of each title for our school library.

The entire Kiley staff appreciates your gift.

Thanks again!

Martha Cahillane
Assistant Principal
Marcus Kiley Middle School
Springfield, MA

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Goodbye to New Mexico

The Navajo Mentoring Program team poses for a group photo after riding the world’s longest aerial tram to the top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The observation deck sits at an altitude of 10,378 feet, offering our group a chance to look out at the 11,000 square-mile panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to gaze out and think about all we had done on our trip.

Friday, September 12, 2008

When in Gallup Eat at Jerry’s

On our drive back from the Navajo Reservation, the Navajo Mentoring Program team stopped for lunch at Jerry’s Café in Gallup, New Mexico. The food was terrific! The service warm and friendly. A small mom and pop-sized restaurant, Jerry’s Café is the kind of charming, unadorned eatery that draws crowds of locals who not only eat Jerry's outstanding Mexican food on-site, but line up to pick up big boxes of take-out food.

Our entire trip was a learning experience and at Jerry’s we learned about the Sopapilla.

Sopapillas are a fried dough that is a New Mexican specialty. We ate them stuffed with beans and chicken and smothered in a smoky red sauce and a tasty tomatillo green sauce until we were stuffed. Really stuffed.

When in Gallup, eat at Jerry’s!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dazzled By Dancers and Drummers

At the community dinner held in honor of the Navajo Mentoring Program, we were honored to see a dazzling performance of Navajo dancers of all ages. The dancers are some of the finest in the world and have performed all over the world, including performances in France and Amsterdam.

A week after the community dinner, the dancers competed at the annual Navajo Nation Fair. The fair draws over 100,000 people and is the largest inter-tribal powwow in North America. Many of the dancers we saw placed first in their respective categories in the dance competition.

Navajo Pine High ’s GATE program teacher, Richard Donahay, finished our evening with an amazing dance and only a few days later was voted the top dancer over all at the Navajo Nation Fair.

It was a tremendous honor to see the dance demonstration, to hear the drumming and to learn about Navajo dances and songs, and to be welcomed so warmly by the community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rooting for the Home Team

After school the Navajo Mentoring team rooted for the Navajo Pine High School girls' volleyball team. Some of the team members are a part of the Navajo Mentoring Program and we wanted to help cheer them to victory.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Table Full of Thank Yous

We received lots of wonderful thank yous from our recent visit to St. Michael Indian School in St. Michael, Arizona. The children selected books to read from the boxes of books we donated and we want to share with you some of their charming cards.

Dear Mr. Mazor,

Thank you for the box of books! We hope you’re happy. My name is Mykaela. I chose Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman. It is a very good book I read it and it is a very nice, interesting story. My friend Julianna wanted it when I showed it to her. I hope you are happy? Thank you again and have a great year. Goodbye Mr. Mazor and thank you!


Dear Mr. Mazor,

The first thing I wanted to say is thank you for the boxes of books. The book I chose is Snarf Attack, Underfoodle, and the Secret of Life. I am in the Fifth grade and my teacher’s name is Ms. King. I go to school at St Michael’s Indian School. And no the nuns don’t wear habits, ha ha! We have to wear polos and khakis. Well now I’ll go so bye!

p.s. to pronounce my name (Dee-an-dree-elle)



Dear Mr. Mazor,

Thank you for the box of books. I really like the book that I got it is very interesting. Its about a girl who forgot it was picture day and she was going to wear a good outfit but her parents make her wear a bad outfit and her day gets even worse. I have more to tell you. But I don’t have enough room on this paper the author is Jasmine Jones.

Thank you.



Dear Mr. Mazor,

Thank you for the box of books. I’m in the 5th grade. I’ve decided to read Star Wars: The Followers. The author is Jude Watson and I am a huge fan of Star Wars.

Thank you.


p.s. May the Force be with you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Carla Clauschee Honored as Librarian of the Year

Navajo Pine High School librarian Carla Clauschee accepted her award last week as Reader To Reader’s Librarian of the Year for 2008.

The award was presented at a community dinner of parents and teachers that was held at Navajo Pine during the Navajo Mentoring Program team’s recent visit.

Ms. Clauschee was chosen from the over 400 librarians that participate in the Reader To Reader program for her outstanding service to the students of Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, New Mexico.

Ms. Clauschee has worked closely with Reader To Reader to build outstanding collections of Japanese manga, Native-American Literature, and poetry at her school library. In all, Reader To Reader has donated over 7,000 books for her general collection and Ms. Clauschee’s guidance and hard work has made her school library a model for her district.

In the fall of 2007, Reader To Reader launched the Navajo Mentoring Program which links Navajo high school students with Amherst College students for online book discussions. Ms. Clauschee played a key role in the development and implementation of the program.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to MS. Clauschee and are pleased to recognize her with this award.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reading to Kids at St. Michael

On our recent trip to the Navajo reservation, Allen Macleod of the Navajo Mentoring Program team spent part of his time at St. Michael Indian School in St. Michael, Arizona.

Allen spent two long days reading books to the children in grades K-6. He went from classroom to classroom reading the books of their choosing. It was a wonderful time for all as Allen’s passion, in addition to being a stellar high school student, is voice-over acting, so he can really bring a book to life.

Allen was originally scheduled to spend one day with the St. Michael students but the students begged him to come back a second day and he enthusiastically agreed.

Founded in 1902, “St. Michael Indian School provides students from local Native American communities with a quality education that is rooted in Catholic values, is sensitive to Native heritage, teaches leadership skills, and enables students to contribute in a culturally diverse world.”

While the primary focus of Reader To Reader is on public education, we are always willing to help schools in disadvantaged communities that are working to meet critical needs. St. Michael Indian School is such a place.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Learning About College

Amherst College Professor Marisa Parham conducted a workshop at Navajo Pine High School, Navajo, New Mexico, on how to choose the right college for you and how to pay for it. The three day workshop was part of the Navajo Mentoring Program.

The workshop took place in the school library; a wonderful place to gather everyone together.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Time for School!

On Monday the Reader To Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program team arrived at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, New Mexico.

The team is spending the week working with the students on a wide range of issues including helping them understand the process of choosing a college, and how the career paths they seek are connected to their educational choices.

Reader To Reader has a long history with Navajo Pine High, having donated over 7,000 books over the past seven years to their library and classrooms, and in 2007 we launched the online book discussion and mentoring components of the Navajo Mentoring Program at the school.

Now it's time to get started!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Touring Dine College

Reader To Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program team tours Dine College in Tsaile, AZ.

Dine College is the primary higher education institution located on the Navajo reservation. Dine is a two-year college that helps Navajo students build their skills so they can transfer to four year colleges and universities such as the University of Arizona and the University of New Mexico.

Interestingly, many students take three to five years to get their two year degree due to their work schedules, the amount of remedial work they may need, and their family obligations. Students range from recent high school graduates to 65-years-old.

Ed Curtis of Dine College detailed the educational opportunities for Dine students. The school graduates over 200 students a year with associate degrees.

In addition to the main campus, the college has eight satellite sites spanning the 27,000 square mile reservation.

Over the past five years Reader To Reader has donated hundreds of new books to the Dine library and over $20,000 worth of brand new mathematics textbooks.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kyle Clark Honored as Outstanding Mentoring Program Student

Reader To Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program team stopped at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico to present an award to high school junior Kyle Clark for his work in the Navajo Mentoring Program.

Kyle was selected as the top student for his outstanding dedication which helped him
make the most reading level advancement of any student in the program.

In addition to receiving a plaque honoring his achievement, Clark will be taking an all expense paid trip this October to Amherst College, where he will spend a week learning first hand about the college experience and the host of careers made possible by a college education.

He will meet Pulitzer Prize winning authors, artists, writers, scientists, and visit numerous cultural and historical attractions, robotics labs, museums, and much more.

Kyle will also work with the Program’s college reading mentors and sample some of their classes.

Everyone at Reader To Reader congratulates Kyle on his achievement.

(Pictured are Kyle Clark and Reader To Reader executive director David Mazor, and Kyle and his sister and aunt with the mentoring team.

Reader To Reader Heads to the Navajo Reservation

A team of nine Reader To Reader staff, Amherst college student reading mentors and a Amherst college professor of literature are heading to the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico.

The team is part of Reader To Reader's Navajo Mentoring Program. The group will spend a week working with Navajo high school and elementary school students, leading book discussions, talking about college life and the whys and hows of attending college.

A key part of the trip is cultural exchange and knowledge building, and the reading mentors stopped to explore Pueblo Bonita at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

The mentors are spending three days touring various historical and cultural sites in advance of their work in schools on Monday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thank You from New Heights Academy Charter School

Dear Mr. Mazor,

On behalf of the entire New Heights Academy Charter School family, I would like to thank you for Reader To Reader's generous donation of books to our middle school.

We are a new charter middle and high school providing a college preparatory education to kids from two historically underserved neighborhoods of New York City, Washington Heights and Inwood. We are in the midst of a massive renovation project, turning our formerly part-vacant building into a safe and dynamic educational center for our students.

As we are without a central library, our goal has been to build classroom libraries. This is especially important because each week, school-wide, we set aside time for independent reading. But this renovation project has placed heavy constraints on our budget, making it difficult to purchase books that fall outside of the regular class lessons.

That's why the book donations from Reader To Reader have been so vital to us.

The books you have donated appeal to a range of interests and have increased our middle school students' choices, and with that we are certain comes an increased love and enjoyment of reading.Thank you once again for your support.

Warm regards,

Courtenay Barton
Development Manager
New Heights Academy Charter School
New York, NY

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thank You so Much for the Books

Dear David,

Thank you so much for the books. As you can see from the pictures, the students are happy to get them. Teachers are too. The Librarian has already started to put them up. You can see how bare our Library is. That's about to change! Thanks to Reader To Reader and you.

The Reading Specialist has a large number of boxes in her room and is distributing them to the K-6 classrooms. We plan to give the reading teacher of grades 7-8 their own sets too.

God bless you and all who help students and schools like ours.

Again, thank you.

Loretta McCoy, Principal
John Essex High School
Demopolis, Alabama

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thanks to Reader To Reader They are Reading Books!

Dear Mr. Mazor,

The Noxubee County Public Library Board of Trustees and I want to thank you and Reader to Reader for the excellent books that you have sent to us. Our patrons have really enjoyed the books, especially the hard backs and paperbacks of adult fiction. They have asked me to keep the westerns, mystery, cookbooks, biographies and romance books coming. It has helped bring back some of our adult readers to the library.

The smaller children have enjoyed the books and are looking forward to reading the new books. They enjoy easy fiction - 1st to 3rd grade books. We even have some of the ages 8-12 years old enjoying reading.

Noxubee County Library is in a rural area and sometimes it is hard for us to get the people into the library and to get them to read the different types of books that we offer, but thanks to Reader to Reader they are READING BOOKS!

Thank you for the help to our patrons to better themselves for the future.

Sincerely Yours,
Miss Judy E. Proffitt, Acting Director
Noxubee County Public Library
Macon Mississippi

Some history on the library:

“Erected in 1907 as the county jail, this three-storied brick structure was built in the Romanesque style of architecture. It was used as a place of incarceration for seventy years before being abandoned.

In 1982 a group of interested citizens began a fund-raising project to restore the property and to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and to be declared a Mississippi Landmark, both distinctions insuring a protected status.”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stacks of New Books

A big, big thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing for the stacks and stacks of new books. They are a great resource as we head into the new school year. Here our Citizen Summer intern Meredith Wilson finishes organizing all the new titles.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stephen and Tabitha King Bring Books to Rural Maine Schools

Stephen King's books may be mysterious, but it is no mystery why our Maine School Book Project has been such a success. It is thanks to the generous support of the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

The Project serves rural public schools in the town of Cutler, Caswell, Fort Fairfield, Van Buren, Limestone, Lubec, Monticello, New Sweden, Rockwood Twp, Stacyville, and Woodland, Maine.

Now in its fifth year, the Project has sent thousands of books to some of Maine’s most under-resourced schools.

We are grateful to the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation for their continuing support.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reluctant Readers Turn On to Books

Dear David,

I certainly hope that you are having a good summer and are able to continue helping me collect books for our students. Your help these past years has been tremendous, helpful, and rewarding. To see reluctant readers turn on to books, and now have a book with them most if not all the time is TERRIFIC!!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Words cannot begin to express my gratitude for all you have done to assist me and Hughes High School.

Take care.

Rae Hall
Hughes High School
Hughes, Arkansas

Friday, August 1, 2008

Smiles at Chestnut Accelerated Middle School

Our book delivery to Chestnut Accelerated Middle School for the Visual and Performing Arts brought big smiles and lots of cheers.

The Springfield, MA school has over 1,200 students in grades 6-8. They have a diverse student population which include Developmental, Student Support Self Contained, Bilingual Life Skills, Bilingual Self Contained Student Support, Life Skills, and Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities, Regular Bilingual, Pull out Model, Inclusion Model and the districts Talented and Gifted program.