Action Book Club Stories

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When Action Book Club members share their experiences, they inspire others to spark positive change in their own neighborhoods. Here are a few of our favorite stories of how Action Book Clubs are turning good reads into good deeds!

Cleveland OH Action Book Club

Cleveland, Ohio

Book: Look Where We Live! A First Book of Community Building by Scot Ritchie

Action: Starting a school recycling program

Project Details (click to learn more)

This third-grade classroom at Bolton Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio, was one of the first groups to sign up to become an Action Book Club. Led by teacher Robin Palmore, the entire class read copies of the book Look Where We Live! A First Book of Community Building, which were generously donated by a local TV station.

The class then looked for a project that would improve their school and benefit the surrounding community. They decided to implement the school’s first-ever recycling program.

“After walking around the school, taking inventory, and asking questions, we noticed a lot of waste of resources in our school. We found out that our school does not have a recycling program,” says Mrs. Palmore. “We signed up at Pepsico Recycling and began to recycle water bottles. We set a goal from now until the end of April for 15,000 bottles.”

Learn more about their project (and read a note from author Scot Ritchie!) here.

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Grand Coteau, Louisiana

Book: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Action: Collecting new socks for those in need

Project Details (click to learn more)

In Louisiana, Alysson Foti Bourque led an Action Book Club for elementary students in pre-K through 4th grade at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. They collected more than 100 pairs of new socks for a homeless shelter and a center for abused women. (Since it happened in October, they called their project “Socktober”!)

“This was such a rewarding experience where we all had an important part of the ‘action,’” says Alysson, herself a children’s book author. “All the kids worked together to help the community in need, and the shelters were so thankful for the kind gesture.”

Little Free Library Action Book Club Minneapolis Bikers Success Story

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Book: One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun

Action: Volunteering for a city bike patrol program

Project Details (click to learn more)

Joining the Action Book Club is a great way for existing book clubs to give back to the community. This book club, which had already been running for two years, volunteered for the Midtown Greenway Bike Trail patrol program, which monitors a five-mile long urban bike trail that cuts through many neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

“By keeping eyes on the bike trail, we’re helping ensure the safety of other trail users and neighborhood residents. It is a great way to be a Minneapolis ‘good neighbor,’” say Sage Dahlen and Will Wlizlo, the founding members of their club.

Little Free Library Action Book Club Bellingham Lemonade Stand

Bellingham, Washington

Book: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Action: Raising money for a local aquarium

Project Details (click to learn more)

Your Action Book Club doesn’t need to be big to make an impact. Eowyn Savela and her sons Harald and Theodore have a book club group of three. Their good deed? Harald, age seven, ran a free lemonade stand that accepted donations for the Marine Life Center, a local aquarium. (They also host a Little Free Library book exchange in their front yard.)

“I thought it would be fun, and it was!” says Harald. “I really like the aquarium. I might want to be a marine biologist when I grow up.”

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Action: Collecting healthy food for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Grand Coteau, Louisiana

Book: Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell

Action: Painting colorful pictures for nursing home residents

Credit: Photo by Brad Kemp, The Acadiana Advocate

Project Details (click to learn more)

At Academy of the Sacred Heart, an Action Book Club made up of Pre-K through fourth-grade students is brightening the walls of a local nursing home and retirement center with paintings they create in art class.

“I like giving to others and being kind,” kindergartner Ella Rose said in this delightful television interview.

The students were inspired by the book Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, which was read to them by parent Alysson Foti Bourque.

This isn’t the first project for the Academy of the Sacred Heart Action Book Club. Last fall, during the pilot program, students read Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and collected more than 100 pairs of new socks for a homeless shelter.

“This was such a rewarding experience where we all had an important part of the ‘action,’” says Alysson, herself a children’s book author. “All the kids worked together to help the community in need, and the shelters were so thankful for the kind gesture.”

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Kenmore, New York

Book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Action: Organizing a book drive for Children and Family Services of Buffalo, NY

Project Details (click to learn more)

“Because of the oppressive nature of The Handmaid’s Tale, we wanted to give back to children and women in our community,” says Action Book Club member Donna Young.

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Book: Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Action: Contacting elected officials to encourage continued funding of a local legal aid program

Project Details (click to learn more)

Recently, we learned of an Action Book Club that has been especially busy. A group of retired teachers and friends near Kansas City is on their way to completing three Action Book Club projects. We’re impressed!

First, they read Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, the true story of a Polish Catholic social worker who organized a rescue network of fellow social workers to save 2,500 Jewish children during World War II. After reading the book, this Action Book Club chose to volunteer at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, helping to evaluate submissions to the White Rose Student Essay Contest.

“We chose this activity because of the Holocaust themes of resistance and rescue in the book,” says member Cathy Blake.

For their second Action Book Club project, they read Books for Living by Will Schwalbe and donated books and toys to a local homeless program. Next up, after already reading Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Small Things: A Novel the group plans to contact their elected officials to encourage them to continue to fund Legal Aid of Missouri.

Cathy offers this suggestion: “Choose books and activities that you enjoy as well as those that may provide new genres and experiences.” Her other words of advice? “Keep it up!”

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Ventura, California

Book: What’s the Buzz Honey Bee? by Robin J. Smith

Action: Helping restore bee populations by giving away wildflower seeds

Credit: Photo by Creative Commons

Project Details (click to learn more)

“We are adding seeds to the [Little Free Library] to help neighbors add clover and wildflowers to their yards,” says Action Book Club organizer and Robin Smith. “Bookmarks in the books in the lending library also outline easy ways people can help the bees and beekeepers—such as not wasting food that bees help grow through pollination, buying local honey, and planting bee friendly gardens.”

Robin offers this advice to other Action Book Clubs: “You don’t need a large group, and you don’t need a huge project. Think of the ‘butterfly effect’ and how small changes can really help.”

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Marion, Ohio

Book: This is Where You Belong: the Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnic

Action: Serving as an information provider for local project MarionMade!

Project Details (click to learn more)

“Our community has suffered, like many, with losses of businesses, a downtown with many empty buildings and drug problems. But we also have much to be proud of but have forgotten how to do this,” says Action Book Club member Vicky Tabor Branson. “So it is our goal of our very new Action Club to be part of the community movement to share positive stories of what we do, are, and work for in our future endeavors.”

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Book: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer

Action: Volunteering at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education

Little Free Library Action Book Club

Maple Valley, Washington

Book: The Revolution Where You Live by Sarah Van Gelder

Action: Holding a “Sip-N-Swap” for community members to get together to talk about and trade books.

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