The Gift of Reading

Steve Pemberton, the best selling author of 'A Chance In The World: An Orphan Boy, A Mysterious Past, and How He Found A Place Called Home' and successful business executive, writes in his memoir about the important role that books played in his life as a child in the foster care system. In this memoir he wrote,  "Books for me were what the ocean is to the fearless explorer-deep and mysterious, boundless and soothing. I loved the smell of books, the feel of their weight in my hands, the rustle of the pages as I turned them, the magnificent illustrations on the covers that promised hidden treasures within." He writes about the kindness he experienced when a neighbor of his foster family gifted him some books which opened up a whole new world for him as he navigated the painful foster care system as a young boy. He shares that "Those stories helped me realize that, although tragedy and loss are regrettably commonplace, we aren’t measured by what happens to us but rather by how we respond to it."

 Caroline Neal, Founder of Worthdays, amongst the many boxes of generous donations of books.  

Caroline Neal, Founder of Worthdays, amongst the many boxes of generous donations of books.  

Mr. Pemberton's story was the first to come to mind when Worthdays was approached by the Virginia Children's Book Festival about partnering with our organization. It has been such an honor to receive generous donations of books to include in the birthday boxes of children and youth receiving a birthday box from Worthdays. Together our goal is that every birthday box includes a book - the gift of adventure, curiosity and wonder.

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 Books generously donated as a result of the partnership between Worthdays and the Virginia Children's Book Festival.  

Books generously donated as a result of the partnership between Worthdays and the Virginia Children's Book Festival.  

As Mr. Pemberton shared about his personal experience in foster care and the role of books, we are hopeful that the books carefully placed in each box will send the same message to the young people receiving them that they did to him - that you are not measured by what happens to you but rather how you respond to it.  That the simple gesture of a book can change the trajectory of your life!  

Many many thanks to Juanita Giles and the Virginia Children's Book Festival for partnering with us. A huge thanks to all of the authors who are helping ensure kids in foster care who otherwise would not be celebrated on their birthdays are gifted with a book - Meg Medina, Cece Bell, Lulu Delacre, Kathryn Erskine, Gigi Amateau. And thank you to Candlewick Press as well! 

Check out this year's Virginia Children's Book Festival which will occur on October 19-21 in Farmville, Virginia. Learn more here.

Learn more about Steve Pemberton's memoir here.

Caroline NealComment