Monday, July 6, 2009


Hi Everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to blog about this fabulous opportunity to help a Title I school fill their classrooms with books. This event, which runs through July 8th, is hosted by the fabulous Cynthea Liu over at:

First . . . The Need:

I teach third grade at Tulakes Elementary, a Title I school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Children residing in our surrounding area or community live in an environment of high poverty, gang violence, and crime with the inherent social problems these issues generate. The children are so needy that many wear the same clothes several days in a row. Some do not know where their next meal is coming from. Our school receives little to no help from families that can barely afford to pay their bills.

We at Tulakes love our children and want them to succeed. We know how important reading and writing is, but we don’t always have the funds to supplement what we have in the classroom. For most of our children, the only reading time they get is at school. The books we have in our classrooms are often ones the teachers have bought, but we are still sorely lacking leveled fiction and non-fiction books for each classroom. We would like our students to be able to get a book on their reading level at any time for writing, research, and enjoyment. While our school library and book room are resources available to us, there are just not enough books to go around and these kids can hardly spend enough time with their checked-out book before it has to go back and into the hands of another child.

We also take 20 minutes each day in which the children read silently to themselves at their desks. We have used cardboard boxes in the past to hold those books, but these fall apart in such a short time. We would like to obtain more heavy-duty, plastic book boxes for each classroom.

Books open a whole new world to our children. It is so exciting to see them reading, writing, doing research, and truly enjoying it. We would appreciate your help in jump-starting our 3rd grade level-reading program in the classroom. As an example, it costs approximately $700 for one leveled non-fiction classroom set. A sturdy book box we can use year after year is $3.25 per student. Our goal is to, over time, have small leveled-reading libraries in every classroom.

Thank you so much for your help. You are making a difference in these children’s lives.

Sincerely yours,

Michele Parham
3rd Grade Teacher
Tulakes Elementary

What You Can Do to Help:

There are many ways that you can help this school. Specific information can be found here: The Dare:

Also, Authors, Agents, and Editors have teamed up to help Tulakes, and are auctioning critiques for YOUR manuscript. It doesn’t matter if you write picture books, middle grade novels, or YA; fiction or nonfiction; contemporary realistic, historical, or fantasy: there’s an auction for you. Here’s the list:

I’m helping out, too! Here’s the link to my auction:

The Prize: One critique of the first three chapters of your young adult novel (30 double-spaced pages max), which includes one full chapter of line edits and directional suggestions for the rest.

So, if you get a moment, I hope you will check out the auctions and consider contributing to this worthy cause.

Cynthea has also designated the profits of the sale of her novel Paris Pan Takes the Dare for Tulakes: make sure you follow instructions on her website. (I read Paris Pan last week, and it was *SUCH* a great read. I highly recommend for that 5th-7th grade girl in your life!)

Remember, the auctions end on July 8th, so get your bids in today. Or, if you aren’t a writer, consider donating to Tulakes through Donors Choose: your contribution will be doubled! (The link can be found on the Dare page.)

This has been a highly successful event so far. Cynthea has posted this message on her site:

“UPDATE: We’ve raised enough money for 3rd grade sets of leveled readers—not just for Michele’s class but HER ENTIRE GRADE. The teachers at Tulakes are so excited to be getting their first new classroom sets of readers for their classrooms. But there is still work to be done. It’s time to make some 2nd graders happy! SO KEEP IT UP!”

I hope you’ll check out the links provided, and consider bidding at one of the auctions. This is an amazing opportunity to have your work critiqued by some of the most amazing people in the industry.

AND . . . it’s for a good cause.

Can’t beat that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with helping others.

Have a great day!


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