by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin figures she’s put 60,000 books into the hands of low-income children. She believes there’s nothing like a good book to brighten a child’s future.
“Statistics indicate that in some areas, the average middle-class child has 13-plus books in the home,” says Roseberry, a professor of speech pathology and a member of the California Faculty Association at CSU Sacramento. “In some under-resourced neighborhoods, there is one book for every 300 children. States like California and Virginia factor in the number of third-graders who read below grade level when building prison cells.”
Roseberry is the founder of Love-Talk-Read, a children’s book drive and literacy program. Most of the books she collects are distributed in low-income Sacramento neighborhoods, but her book drive has recently gone international. Children in American Samoa are now receiving books for the first time in their lives, and books were also sent recently to Ecuador.
“Books can change lives and give children a brighter future,” she says. “Reading can promote being educated and literate members of society. Reading can provide hope. That’s the bottom line.”
In Celeste’s words:
One of the things that motivated me was…
my son Mark had severe dyslexia as a child. Children's books and lots of special support helped him overcome it, and now he gets A-pluses! Reading children's books was a big part of his life that helped him become a better student.
It’s important for children to own books…
because children can read them with their parents and siblings over and over. It becomes a part of their childhood. Owning books tells children that reading and learning are important.
Seeing a child get the gift of a book…
is beautiful. One day I saw a little girl from a low-income apartment complex select several beautiful books. She started hugging them. It was amazing. I’ve seen pictures of kids overseas who’ve never had their own book open one up, and they are totally overjoyed. Collecting children’s books is a very joyful, happy process that makes other people want to enthusiastically jump on board.
My favorite book is…
the Bible, and also Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, a book my mother read to me when I was a little girl.
Read Across America is…
fabulous and uplifting. I’m proud to belong to CTA, an organization that reaches out to students, encouraging them to love reading. There’s nothing more important.
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