Book gifts for Central School kids
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Nov 28, 2013 | 1434 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New books at Central School
Second-grader Rory Spellman looks excitedly at a book her classmate Dahaya Uribe received during a book giveaway at Central Elementary School on Friday, Nov. 22. The books were provided by two First Book grants that school officials received to give every student six new books to take home during the course of the school year. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
view slideshow (4 images)
A group of second-graders working on Thanksgiving art projects squealed with delight Friday, Nov. 22, as Central Elementary School Principal Nancy Link announced that all of them would receive a book to take home.

“This is the best day ever,” second-grader Kevin Ulloa said as the principal went around the room and handed every child a new book.

Link visited each classroom at the kindergarten-through-fifth grade school with books in hand on Friday.

The giveaway was made possible by two grants Central received from the nonprofit group First Book for a total of 2,900 books valued at more than $15,000.

The grant was designed to put books into the hands of children of low-income families, she said.

“I will do anything to help get more books into the students’ homes,” said Link, who applied for the grant in 2012 and received the first 2,000 books in August.

Each book was grade appropriate, with subject matter — Disney characters and superheroes — designed specifically for a boy or a girl.

“It’s really one of our goals to make them lifelong readers, to help encourage reading at home,” Link said, “and reading aloud, where the parent reads with their child, is vital.”

As Link went from room to room, she was met with the same enthusiasm from students. Some classes broke into spontaneous cheers, and some children hugged her.

“This is awesome,” another second-grade boy said as he looked at his new superheroes book.

Because of the windfall of books the school has received, Link plans to give a new book to every student six times in the course of this school year. She hopes to plan each distribution just before a school vacation, starting with the Thanksgiving break this week, followed by Christmas, Presidents Day and Easter.

The goal, she said, was to encourage the students to read while they were out of school.

“Today, everyone got their first round of books,” she said Friday. “It was fun.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at