As a member of the American Bookseller Association, The Mitten Word Bookstore in Marshall, Mich. had a unique opportunity – to receive multiple books for the purpose of donating to local schools and educational programs to encourage young readers. Jim Donahue, the owner of The Mitten Word, chose to give this amazing gift to the students in Starr Commonwealth’s residential and community-based programs.
In total, Jim and Shannyn, the Events Manager at The Mitten Word, brought almost fifty copies of Jason Reynolds’ book, Ghost, to our Albion campus. These books will be distributed among students in the Youth Assistance Program (YAP) in Detroit and Starr Albion Prep.
Ghost was a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature and was nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. The novel is the first in the Track series, and follows Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw as his talent for running from his past lands him a spot on an elite middle school track team. With themes of facing your fears and working to become part of a team, this novel is one that Starr students can relate to.
“I love to read. I read all the time. I’m probably going to finish this tonight,” said one student as he looked through the donated book. To prove it, he opened his backpack and pulled out several books that he had recently gotten from the library. Jim and Shannyn looked at what he was reading and talked to the group about different books and authors, making suggestions of ones that might interest them.
With these books, students will have the opportunity to create small book clubs in their cottages at Starr Albion Prep or as a YAP group activity, to discuss how they relate to Ghost’s experiences – and thus how they relate to each other. In addition, those who are seeking a more personal journey with Jason Reynold’s story will be provided a safe space to explore independently.
Jim and Ginny Donahue opened their bookstore to help with the literacy rates in Calhoun County. With donations like these, students in Calhoun County and across Michigan have more opportunities to discover a love of reading. Thank you to our friends at The Mitten Word for thinking of the students here at Starr Commonwealth!