The Books of our Lives

MelissaGuest post by Melissa Spradlin, Executive Director of Book’em

[For the past two months, Nashville-area students from 20 elementary, middle and high schools have worked hard to collect books to be donated to Book’em. The grand total came in at an astonishing 20,421 books. The initiative, in its second year and coordinated by Hands On Nashville’s VolunTEEN Program, culminated this weekend when 75 students, teachers, and parents from the participating schools gathered to sort through the books and prepare them for donating. Book’em will then ensure that the books get into the hands of children and teens from low-income families, most of whom have no books of their own. Melissa Spradlin, executive director of Book’em, explains the significance of the book drive…]

Think back to your childhood and some of the fabulous books you owned. How did they affect you? How might you feel if you did not have those great memories? What if you had never read Brown Bear, Brown Bear; The Cat in the Hat; The Secret Garden; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Hunger Games; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; or whatever your favorite titles were?

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Thanks to 20 public and private schools in the Nashville area, thousands of children and teens in Davidson County will have the chance to own and read wonderful books. On Saturday, I had the privilege of working with some of Nashville’s best volunteers of all ages from local schools, Junior League of Nashville, Hands On Nashville, and Book’em. They sorted and counted nearly 20,000 books that morning. Do you know what 20,000 books looks like? Believe me, it’s a lot of books to handle in one morning! Throughout the day, I heard lots of comments about many of the books and people’s great memories of reading of them.

Unfortunately, many of our own economically disadvantaged youth here in the Nashville area do not have books of their own to cherish and read as often as they want. If you want to help change that, like these students and schools did, please check out the Book’em website at to learn more about how you can help.

In 2011, Book’em gave away more than 50,000 books to underprivileged youth in Nashville. Please help us make that 70,000 in 2012. Together, we can make a difference and help kids create wonderful memories with great books that will last a lifetime.

Learn more about HON’s VolunTEEN Program, including upcoming spring break activities, here. Thank you to the following schools for their incredible work on the book drive – thanks to you, more kids in Nashville have books of their own! High schools: Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Overton, Antioch, Hume-Fogg, Hillsboro, Montgomery Bell Academy, Hunters Lane; Middle schools: Head Magnet, Bellevue, JT Moore, Abintra Montessori, Croft; Elementary schools: Ensworth, Friendship Christian, Ezell Harding, St. Edward, Christ The King, and Franklin Road Academy. Winners will be announced through the HON facebook page soon! If you would like to get your school involved next year’s book drive, please contact


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