Above: Joan Eldred, Hiata DeFeo, and Duncan celebrate Bridgeside Books’ Giving Tree book drive: the Waterbury bookstore collected 320 books to benefit CLiF.


We don’t have all the books counted yet, but I can’t wait to tell you. This holiday season, book drives brought in more than 800 books to give kids served through CLiF programs.

More than 800 books!

That’s thanks to the efforts of Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, Next Chapter Bookstore in Barre, Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, and Bear Pond Books in Stowe, VT.

Thanks also to Maryellen Sullivan of Gold Star Dog Training in Stowe, who sponsored the Bear Pond Books Stowe book drive, and to the Oliver Wyman offices in New York and Boston, whose book drives were led by CLiF’s summer nonprofit fellow, Katie Gunn.

Most of all, it’s thanks to the wonderful people who, given an opportunity to help, decided to buy a book and share their love of reading with a child.

I asked Liza Bernard of Norwich Bookstore why her store supports CLiF through its Book Angels program. She said, “Giving books and sharing the love of reading is such an easy thing for many people to do, and yet it is a lasting – perhaps life altering – gift for some of the children and young adults who receive what might be their first ‘very own’ book.”

It takes work to create a successful book drive — promotion, organization, even events. Hiata DeFeo of Bridgeside Books kicked off her Giving Tree with an event featuring cider, cookies, and a reading of Favor Johnson by legendary storyteller Willem Lange.

To Hiata, it’s worth it. She said, “Reading was an important part of my childhood, and any opportunity to share the love of reading is worth the effort for me. When a child learns to love reading, the entire world opens up.”


Willem Lange reads Favor Johnson at Bridgeside Books' Giving Tree kickoff event on Dec. 1, 2013
Willem Lange reads Favor Johnson at Bridgeside Books’ Giving Tree kickoff event on Dec. 1, 2013


Both Liza and Hiata recognize that community support is what makes these book drives successful.”The Norwich Bookstore is honored and touched to able to facilitate our community’s incredible generosity,” said Liza.

“This is the second year Bridgeside Books has partnered with CLiF for ‘The Giving Tree,” explained Hiata. “It is a natural fit within our community, and I love being able to be a part of such a generous community!”

We love being part of that community, too. Thank you, everybody! We can’t wait to share these books with kids.

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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