Published online on November 5, 2017 on

South Valley residents launched the Gift of Reading program for the 2017 holiday season at a special cidar and donuts party Nov. 5 at BookSmart.
Photo by Marty Cheek

The Gift of Reading has been a local holiday tradition in the South Valley for more than a decade. Generous residents provide the gift of books to needy and underserved children. Morgan Hill’s BookSmart Community Advantage, the non-profit foundation associated with local bookstore BookSmart, is teaming with other local organizations to sponsor this year’s drive to provide books in the Morgan Hill and San Martin area. We hope everyone who cares about kids might help by donating a new or like-new book or two suitable for elementary age children by the deadline of Friday Dec. 9.

The foundation is partnering with the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library and Cecilia’s Closet, associated with the Edward Boss Prado Foundation, to spread the gift of literacy and love of books to children in our local community. Additional Gift of Reading Morgan Hill supporters include Sonrisa Stables, Morgan Hill Life, and AAUW-Morgan Hill.

Look for the cheerfully-wrapped bins that serve as collection points at locations including BookSmart, located at 1295 E. Dunne Ave. Ste. 120, the Morgan Hill Library and other locations around town. Look for the cheerfully wrapped bins. The books will be distributed by Cecelia’s Closet to needy children through the Morgan Hill Unified School District. The donated books will go to underserved children, and to help teachers build classroom libraries for the children they teach — increasing the chances at long-term academic success. In some families these books may be the only holiday gift a child will receive.


The benefit of children having books in their home is well documented. Access to books is essential to developing basic reading skills, leads to longer and more frequent shared reading between parents and children, and produces increased enjoyment of books and improved attitude towards reading and academics. The National Commission on Reading has found that the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school. Having books in the home has been proven to: improve a child’s reading performance, cause children to read more and for longer lengths of time, and produce improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children.

As part of this program, BookSmart is offering a 20 percent discount on books purchased for Gift of Reading. Cash donations are also welcome. Volunteers are also needed to transport books to Cecelia’s Closet and to sort them by age groups and condition.

Last year, the Gift of Reading Morgan Hill program collected more than 3,000 books for the children. Brad Jones, co-owner of BookSmart, said, “Let’s make this year’s Gift of Reading Morgan Hill the best ever. So many kids have never had a book of their own. We can change that!”

Together, we can encourage literacy among our young people with a gift of a book this holiday season.

Morgan Hill Life Editorial
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Morgan Hill Life Editorial
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