Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

DW’s Seventh Holiday Book Drive

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UPDATE #3: As of 6:45 am on Wednesday, 318 books (over $3000 worth!) have been purchased from the teachers’ registries! There are still plenty of books left to be purchased though – over 50 – so if you haven’t had a chance to participate yet or if you were waiting to see what registries needed a last push to be fulfilled, now is the time to act. In addition to books to gift each of their students, teachers have also added books to their registries that they’d like for their classroom lending libraries, as well as supplies and products to make their classrooms more functional and comfortable. Let’s make this a special holiday season for these caring teachers and their deserving students and try to fulfill every registry. Thank you so much — I’m so heartened by all the generosity this community consistently – and quickly – shows!!

UPDATE #2: As of 3:30 EST 240 books (plus some additional supplies) have been purchased from the teachers’ registries! In years past, this would have been the total amount requested and the drive would be over, but this year we got ambitious and there are still well over 100 books left on the registries (plus lots of classroom supplies) to not only gift every student of every participating teacher her or her own book to take home, but to help fill the teachers’ classroom lending libraries so that their students can borrow additional books (because yay reading!). Can we knock out all the registries by tomorrow morning?? Let’s see!

UPDATE #1: 84 books have been purchased from the registries as of 12:30 EST, four hours into the drive. Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed! There are still lots and lots of books left on the registries – my goal is to have all 370 books purchased by Friday, in time for the kids to receive them before their holiday breaks start. Once all books have been purchased, if you’re still in a giving mood, please consider the additional classroom materials and items the teachers included on their registries this year. Thank you!!

Today is Giving Tuesday, which means it’s time again for one of my favorite DW traditions — our annual holiday book drive! It all started in 2012 when we had a last-minute book drive for a class in a low-income school in New Orleans. The drive was such a success that I decided to make it an annual event. Since 2012, we have gifted books to over 1000 students in schools across the nation. In some cases, the books have been the only gifts these kids have received for the holidays.

This year six teachers from five different schools are participating in our drive — and I hope we can continue the tradition of generosity and holiday spirit in 2018 so that 250+ more kids can each get a book to take home for their very own. Learn more about this year’s participating teachers below, and follow the links to their Amazon gift registries where you can purchase books if you’re able to. (In addition, I invited the teachers to include on their registries this year any items they might need or want to make their classroom more functional and comfortable for their students, including additional books for classroom lending libraries. As a result, this is the most ambitious drive to date, with nearly 370 books requested! Eek, I hope we can do it!). Thank you so much for your generosity — it really does make a difference!!!

Edit to add this helpful reader tip: “To further stretch your dollars take advantage of this book promo that amazon has until 12/1 – Amazon offers $5 off $20 or more on your Purchase of Print Books when you apply promotional code NOVBOOK18 at checkout.”

“I am Sheriann, and I teach third grade at a Title One school in Halifax County, NC. Much of the student population consists of high-need students, many of whom are experiencing instability in their homes and a wealth of other risk factors. My students do not fit society’s mold of ‘perfect’ students. They do not sit quietly waiting with anticipation for the golden words of instruction to fall from my mouth….they challenge me! They challenge me to think of creative ways to meet their need for exploration into topics of interest.

Last year, I wrote that my students hated reading, but I found this to not be true after they received their gift of books from the DW book drive. They spoke nonstop about their stories and even instigated their very own book exchange. I would like to ignite a similar flame (love for reading), with my present group of students as I am now a firm believer in Frank Serafini’s quote: ‘There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.’”

Here’s Sheriann’s book registry.

I am a first-grade teacher at Weldon Elementary Global Academic, in Weldon, North Carolina. We have a total of 43 first-graders in a high poverty area in North Carolina. The books they receive from this book drive may be the only gifts some of these kids receive for the holidays, and when they realize that these gifts come from people all over, they will really love and appreciate it, because they will understand that sharing is caring. We are a global school and have 12 students who are in a Spanish immersion program and we would love to have more materials to help them and all our scholars learn to love reading.

Here’s Kim’s book registry.

“I’m a second-grade teacher at a Title 1 elementary school in rural eastern North Carolina. We are in a high-poverty area and many of my students have very little reading material at home. I have a class full of energetic, eager-to-learn, enthusiastic, and caring 7- and 8-year-old students, many of whom are still struggling with reading. My goal is to not only help them learn to read but also help them develop a love of reading. Taking home their very own books would be very exciting for my students. Any extra books I receive I would like to use to expand my classroom lending library so students would still have other books they could borrow to take home to read.”

Here’s Cathy’s book registry.


“I’m an 8th-grade ELA/Humanities teacher at the John J. Doran Community School in Fall River, Massachusetts. The Doran school is a family community, and often the only place where our students, many of whom are high-needs and qualify for free lunch, feel safe and loved. As we are entering the holiday season,it is a time of the unknown for my students. While most children are excited about this time of year, my students often become anxious because they’re not sure what Christmas morning will bring.

Sending my students off to Christmas break with a new book is one way we can brighten their holiday. Reading provides knowledge, which ultimately creates power. When my students select books for themselves, it is one small way they can empower and advocate for themselves. This opportunity to own a personally-chosen piece of literature fosters a love of reading and reminds them what they do have control over, no matter how minor it may seem. In an environment where they do not have much to call their own, possessing a book can make all the difference.”

Here’s Ali’s book registry.

“I’m the math and science teacher at Davis Middle School in Hillsdale, Michigan. I have two group of students I teach, for a total of 53 students, the majority of whom are on free or reduced lunch. Our school does various programs to help all students such as Davis Closet which allows students to shop for hygiene supplies and gently used clothes for free. We also have a program that sends meals home for students on the weekends. Many of my students do not purchase from our book orders or book fairs because their families can’t afford books. I ask my students to write on a piece of paper what book they would want, and one student this year said, “I want this book because it is $1 and that is probably all I can afford.”

Each year that I do the book drive with Dear Wendy, I wrap each book individually, so that my students each have a present to open on the last day of school before break. When they realize that these gifts come from people all over, they are always truly touched. Thank you for supporting my kids. They mean the world to me, and your generosity will make a difference in their lives!”

Update: Katie’s registry is 100% fulfilled!
Here’s Katie’s book registry.

I’m a third-grade ELA teacher at Weldon Elementary Global Academy in Weldon, North Carolina. I have a total of 34 students who have various degrees of reading challenges. I’m new to this book drive, and it is my hope that the gift of these books will encourage and enable my students to become better readers.

Leonie’s registry is 100% fulfilled!
Here’s Leonie’s book registry.

16 comments… add one
  • LisforLeslie November 27, 2018, 9:30 am

    I do love this every year, but it always screws up my predict-a-buy choices on Amazon.

    let us know if someone’s registry needs a last push to complete.

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    • Wehaf November 27, 2018, 7:42 pm

      You can go to your amazon account, select “Improve your recommendations” and tell amazon not to use these purchases to make recommendations for you. 🙂

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    Juliecatharine November 27, 2018, 9:31 am

    This is such a great drive, thank you for bringing everything together Wendy!

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  • Sara November 27, 2018, 10:25 am


    To further stretch your dollars take advantage of this book promo that amazon has until 12/1!

    “Amazon offers $5 off $20 or more on your Purchase of Print Books when you apply promotional code NOVBOOK18 at checkout.”

    Wendy hope you don’t mind me posting here. If you find appropriate maybe you can add to original post.

    Happy giving <3

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      Dear Wendy November 27, 2018, 10:49 am

      Wonderful- thank you! I’m away from my computer at the moment but will edit the post to add this as soon as I get home.

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    • Luisa in Dallas November 27, 2018, 11:02 am

      Thanks telling us about the promotional code, Sara. With the extra $5, I was able to purchase an extra book!

      Wendy, thanks for doing this. I love participating .

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  • MissD November 27, 2018, 10:39 am

    Done deal!

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  • ktfran November 27, 2018, 10:56 am

    Done and done! I forgot this happened every year, but I’m so glad you do this Wendy!

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  • alafair November 27, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Done. I love giving books like this. Makes me feel all fuzzy inside. 🙂

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  • Steph November 27, 2018, 3:27 pm

    Book ordered! Out of curiosity, how are the participants picked to be a part of the book drive?

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      Dear Wendy November 27, 2018, 3:35 pm

      Starting months before the actual drive, teachers who participated in the past or teachers who know about the drive and hope to get in on it, start reaching out to me to reserve a spot. Closer to the drive, if there’s still room (I aim to keep the number of participating students under 300) I reach out to any past participants to give them first dibs. This year, two previous participants are on maternity leave, which worked out ok because the other teachers have a lot of students this year and one had a colleague who wanted to join. If we can successfully fulfill the registries this year – at least get all the books purchased – I may aim to get 500 students books next year. Thank you for your contribution!

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  • Sandy November 27, 2018, 4:15 pm

    Thanks for setting this up again! FYI, for some reason I couldn’t send the dry erase markers to Cathy, Amazon said they were “undeliverable to that address,” but the books were fine.

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    Miel November 27, 2018, 7:18 pm

    Yeah!! I can finally afford to participate this year! I’m so glad you’re still doing the book drive Wendy.

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  • Vathena November 27, 2018, 8:54 pm

    Done!! I’m in to help with more kids next year, Wendy, if you decide to go for 500+!

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  • Rangerchic November 28, 2018, 12:39 pm

    I forgot to do this last night so just did it this morning! I love the book drive!!

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  • Qalia December 2, 2018, 1:51 am

    This is the best thing ever!

    Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.
    – Malala Yousafzai

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