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South Jersey teachers start their year with free books

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Some South Jersey teachers have some free books to start the school year courtesy of the nonprofit called BookSmiles.

BookSmiles is kind of like a Robin Hood of literacy: It collects books after students in affluent districts are finished with them, and gives them to teachers in needy schools.  

More than 100 teachers came to BookSmiles’ new Cherry Hill warehouse to pick up children’s books that they can take back to their classrooms.   

“They are wonderful books and the students are going to be so excited,” said Lindsey McEnroe, who teaches second graders in Penns Grove. “We have book fairs and a lot of the time, not all of the students are able to get books.  And so this way every student will walk away with a book.”

Related: Students in 8 schools get free books thanks to South Jersey teacher’s nonprofit

Kristen Weisman, a kindergarten teacher at Pennsauken’s Fine Elementary, says her kids may be too young to read, but these books will open new worlds for them.

“Even if they can’t read the words yet, as a kindergarten teacher, like, at least you’re looking at the pictures and you’re getting the idea of the letters, make sounds, and the sounds make words and the words make a story,” she said. 

BookSmiles was founded by Lindenwold High School English teacher Larry Abrams and over the last three years, has distributed more than 125,000 books.

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