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Off the Page: 2nd Annual Storybridge LIVE! at Hodgetown this Saturday

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Alert the kids of Amarillo! Characters from 12 popular kids' books are waiting to meet the little ones at "Storybridge LIVE!," this Saturday morning (10a to 12p CT) at Hodgetown Stadium in Amarillo.

This week, we welcomed Chandra Perkins, the Executive Director of Storybridge, into the HPPR studio in Amarillo to remind parents, grandparents, big brothers and sisters, and guardians that THIS SATURDAY MORNING is going to be wild. Children's books will come alive at Hodgetown (715 S. Buchanan, Amarillo), the new minor league baseball stadium, as the nonprofit welcomes the return of their 2nd annual "Storybridge LIVE!" event. Stop by this Saturday, Oct. 1st, from 10a to 12p CT and meet some classic characters from beloved books like Curious George, Rainbow Fish, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Wild Thing (from Where the Wild Things Are), and Llama Llama. Plus, new favorites like Pete the Cat, Elephant & Piggie, Junie B. .Jones, and Dragons Love Tacos.

This event is presented by Amarillo AISD, and proceeds from the tickets go toward the mission of Storybridge: to ensure that every child in Amarillo owns at least 20 high-quality books at all times. Hear the full interview with founder and educator, Chandra Perkins, on the link at the top of this page.

MORE ABOUT STORYBRIDGE (from Chandra, on their website): In June of 2016, I took my two sons and several friends across town to read books to kids. Our first visit was to the park behind Mesa Verde Elementary. We read to 8 kids that day and let them each choose a book to keep out of our box of about 100 used books. For reasons I couldn't explain at the time, it felt really important that we give the books away without any conditions. The kids were so happy and thankful and enjoyed looking through all of them to pick their favorite. It was a wonderful experience, but we ended up putting 92 books back in my car and driving them across town to sit in my garage again. On that drive home, something happened in my heart. It dawned on me how many of our children struggle with food insecurity and how difficult it is for families with low-income to keep up with clothing needs and medical care. Many of our students are sharing a bed or a couch with siblings. What in the world made me think that they have bookshelves full of children’s books?? Even as a local elementary teacher (and reading specialist) I had never given very much thought to the lack of access to children’s books for families in need or what that gap in access meant for their future.

The research we've done since we began has confirmed the reality that the gap in book ownership is not only real for our local kids, but it has tragic and long-lasting consequences. The fact is, children who grow up in homes with 20 books achieve 3 years more education than children from bookless homes. Evans, M.D.R., (2010 June). Family scholarly culture and educational access: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. (Read study here.)

Storybridge is a grass-roots effort to change the story for our local kids by investing in their access to literacy as early as possible.

The model is simple:

  • Collect new and gently used books donated by our community
  • Purchase books with donated dollars
  • Sort all books by age groups
  • Distribute to kids in need through strategic programs (Storybridge Book Distribution, Kinderbridge, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Little Free Libraries)

At Storybridge, we believe that:—EDUCATION is the only viable bridge out of poverty.
—LITERACY is the vein through which all education is delivered and the ultimate equalizer.
—TOGETHER we can and must get books into their homes and into their hands - as many as we can and at the earliest possible opportunity!

When we do, we make early literacy accessible, we make school easier from the beginning, we throw a wrench in the cycle of poverty, and WE CAN CHANGE THE STORY for thousands of our children.

Thanks to the help of people passionate about equity in education, we have put over 260,000 books straight into the hands and homes of local children who need them most. Together we are committed to the mission that all children in our city will own at least 20 age-appropriate books in their home from birth through elementary school.

Give kids books... Change their story!

Jenny Inzerillo joined HPPR in 2015 as the host of High Plains Morning, our live music program that airs weekdays at 9 am to noon CST. Broadcasting from KJJP in beautiful downtown Amarillo, she helps listeners wake up with inspired music from our region and beyond. Tune in for new voices in folk/Americana, deep cuts from your favorite artists, soulful tracks from singer/songwriters across the world, and toe-tapping classics dating as far back as the 1920s. Plus, discover underground greats that just might be your new favorite band.