2020 Maine Books Challenge aims to get kids reading and boost local business

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT
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Getting books to the kids from Maine.

That's the ultimate goal of a newly launched initiative by Educate Maine.

And as TV5 found out - if they help out a local business along the way... that's alright too.

"Having students read every day," said Educate Maine Program Director Dolly Sullivan.

That's what the 2020 Maine Books Challenge is aiming to do.

The idea was formed during a recent virtual meeting when Educate Maine's County Teachers of the Year were asked what their students needed..

"Hotspots, internet access, chrome books," said Sullivan. "Things that we know others are trying really hard to do and we know it's a huge issue. The other thing that came up was books. We want to get books into the hands of students."

"Book stores are still open," said Program Manager Katherine Johnston. "They aren't open to the public right now but a lot of them have adapted to curbside pick up or delivery. So there is really small staff right now it's going in and filling orders and placing orders online."

"$10 equals a book," said Sullivan.

Educate Maine - which is a business led non-profit - is working with independent book stores across the state. The 10 dollar book purchases serve as a shot in the arm form of an influx of cash.

"Each bookstore is devising different ways either online gift cards or curbside pick up it's really tremendous partnership," Sullivan added. "Our whole model of educate Maine is workforce and educational development. So this is a perfect fit for us."

"I see people coming together a lot to support the community," said Johnston. "I've seen this really wonderful appreciation and gratitude for what we've taken for granted at times. The tangible relationship that we build at school by going into the building and seeing your classmates. Also this tangible thing of holding a book in your hands. And supporting businesses. A lot of people don't think about it. We buy things off of Amazon regularly . Now there's this feeling that we're all in it together and we need to support businesses. We need to support students and this is the perfect way to do both."

"2,020 books raised in Maine, we can do that," said Sullivan. "Would be awesome if we could get 2,020 books in every county."

If you want to donate, register to get your child a book - or learn more about the 2020 Maine Book Challenge click here.