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Norwich Bookstore's Book Angels Program Pairs Books with Children in Need

Nov 20, 2017 03:56PM ● By Linda Ditch
The wreath in the stairway at Norwich Bookstore is more than just a holiday decoration. It also represents the store’s Book Angels Program and provides a way for children who otherwise might not have the chance to receive a book of their own.

Norwich Bookstore owner Liza Bernard says, “The initial format for Book Angels came 20 years ago from a few publishers who sent out die-cut angels with suggestions for creating a book drive, and over the years, we have tailored it to our community. The tradition is meaningful because it is a concrete way people can share the love of reading. We have heard back that, for some children, the book the Book Angel delivered was their first ‘very own’ book!”

A group of volunteers works with various agencies to identify children to match with books. They code the lists so that the kids are anonymous, keep track of the collection efforts, and deliver the books in time for the holidays. This year, the Angels will gather books for Vermont’s Child and Family Services, the Family Place, the Haven, and the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF).

How does the program work? You choose an angel from the wreath, which will note the age and interests of the child it represents. Then you select a book for that child. For another option, you can choose the book first, and the store staff will find a matching angel, or you can donate a dollar amount, and the staff will make sure it goes to purchase a book for a child whose name is on the wreath.

The program runs through mid December. Most of the books need to be ready for delivery before December 5th. The store also donates at least one book for every ten purchased and guarantees that no Book Angel will be left empty-handed.

“We love hearing why folks choose certain books,” Liza says. “For example, just this morning one woman told me she wanted Fancy Nancy books because her granddaughter loved them, and then a young boy shared that he chose a board book because he had read it ‘a lot.’ A young woman bought two copies of John Green’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down, one for herself and one for a teen’s request. She told me that after reading a copy from the library, she wanted to own and share the story.”              

Visit Norwich Bookstore at 291 S Main St, Norwich, VT 05055.

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