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As those of you who’ve been reading here for a while know, I love philanthropy. I also love books (Twilight notwithstanding). I also have a soft spot for kids. So, when I was invited to the launch of a new website that fosters philanthropic values in kids by reading online and donating books to other kids in need, I was all like “Why didn’t I think of this myself?”
The concept of WeGiveBooks.org, which is a joint endeavor from the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Books, is incredibly simple. You first create a (FREE) account and link up to one of the campaigns they are aligned with and that’s who will receive books. They have created a virtual library of titles online and you pick books to read with your child. Every time you complete a book, the campaign you selected receives a book. They are hoping to donate a million books within the first year. A million! Books to kids who don’t have books! How awesome is that idea? It’s pretty damn awesome.
There’s so much about this project that is awesome, as I learned from playing with the website and at the press conference. The library of books is lovely and growing. They have some classics, perfectly replicated, like The Little Engine That Could, and the page-turning animation is great. The concept of using technology to help teach kids about giving to other is also wonderful and its all based on some really intense academic research into what makes kids philanthropic. One of the researchers, Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, was at the press conference and explained the five key concepts parents need to grasp to adequately explain and promote philanthropy and general good person-ness:
- Love and support
- Setting high expectations and help children live up to them
- Model good behavior
- Talk to kids about how their behavior affects others
- Encourage kids to speak and make sure to really listen
There’s a lot more to it of course, all kinds of findings about how kids manifest philanthropy and all that but those were the big takeaways I walked out with.
Oh and this:
That’s me. And Dave Barry. Dave PULITZER Barry. Dave (I call him Dave) and his band the Rock Bottom Remainders are supporting this project by playing gigs. So his bandmates Ridley Pearson and Amy Tan were also there and I talked to Amy Tan in the elevator (she had never read The Little Engine That Could) and Dave Barry gave me a mint.
I? Am part of the literary elite now. And so are you for reading my blog.
Anyway, I highly encourage all of you to go the the WeGiveBooks.org website and set yourselves up. You’ll find great books to read with your kids, great charities that bring books to kids in need (keep an eye out for the DCPS, which will be coming online soon as a recipient), and lots of tools for how to encourage your kids to give back. It’s a win for everyone.
Now, I need to go bask in my I Hung Out With Dave Barry for the Length of An Elevator Ride-ness.
Disclaimer: I wrote this review as part of a campaign by Mom Central on behalf of We Give Books and received breakfast, tickets to the Rock Bottom Remainders concert, and a gift certificate.
Further disclaimer: I wasn’t actually able to o to the concert since it was on a Wednesday. Boo.