There's a new program in the Triangle that aims to bring books into the lives of needy kids across the state.
Stampede to Read began in January in response to the growing number of kids who are reaching young adulthood without adequate literacy skills, Pam Kelly, founder of the Durham-based program tells me.
Kelly sites statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, which says that 61 percent of low income children have no age-appropriate books in the home. In North Carolina, that translates into 602,074 children, Kelly says.
Stampede to Read's goal is to distribute books to all of those children - including 30,000 kids in the Triangle, who are on the free and reduced lunch program.
The group is looking for contributions to purchase and distribute the books, including age-appropriate dictionaries and thesauruses; multicultural picture books and chapter books; reference books that promote math, science and health subjects; and bilingual books.
The group's website includes a variety of ways to help, along with information about a free kids book club and an event scheduled for Oct. 20. The Big Book Block Party #2 in Durham will featuring award-winning authors and illustrators, along with the group's mascot, Teeny Weeny Bee and lots of gently used books to give away.
For details on how you can help or get involved, go to Stampede to Read's website.