Annual program inspires communitywide conversation
By Terry Duffy
Photos courtesy of Julie Donnelley
And the winner is?
Lewiston-Porter’s “One District, One Book” reveal was hosted online last Friday by school librarians Mrs. Zielinski and Mrs. Cumminsky. More than 400 participated in the live telecast event. When it was all said and done, the children’s book “Fenway and Hattie,” by Victoria J. Coe, was declared the winner.
Parent volunteer Julie Donnelley, who assisted in organizing this annual event, said Coe recorded a personal message to children and read the first chapter of her book at the reveal for Lew-Port students and their families in grades pre-K to sixth grade. Students at the Primary Education Center, Intermediate Education Center and middle school, as well as their families, are all now participating in “ODOB.”
“The school committee and community libraries are excited that we can move forward with this highly anticipated literacy program that includes students from our primary, intermediate and middle schools,” Donnelley said. “The students have now received their books and will participate in a shared experience supported by enriching activities at their schools.”
So, too, are businesses in the River Region.
“This past weekend, several local restaurants showed support by offering dining and curbside specials. ‘One District, One Book’ truly connects our community with school as several local businesses will offer discounts or book-themed specials to Lewiston-Porter students and families until the program’s conclusion on March 12,” Donnelley said.
2021 business partners who have signed on include the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, Stuart Sports, DiCamillo Bakery, Coppins Service Center, The Village Vet, The Orange Cat Coffee Co., Stu Stu Studio Photography, the Lewiston Tim Hortons, Endless PAWSibilities, Lewiston Subway, Embody Health and Wellness, The Music Box, Chelsea Modern Images, Village Fitness, The Natural Link, DiMino Lewiston Tops, The Brickyard Pub & BBQ, Casa Antica, The Spicey Pickle, Apple Granny, Favorites Pizzeria, Gallo, Grandma D's and Main Street Pizza.
Those contributing to “One District, One Book” include the Orange Cat, The Natural Link and Endless PAWSibilites, as well as Mount St Mary's Hospital President CJ Urlaub and The Village Vet of Lewiston.
Donnelley said others involved in the program – whom she referred to as “local heroes” – include many health care and essential workers.
“We have several nurses, doctors, Tops associates and health care professionals reading chapters for the kids this year!” she noted. “So proud of our local heroes – the health care and essential workers. We are so grateful to our community, teachers, and families.”
She pointed out “ODOB” means much more than just the fulfillment of the student – it’s community involvement.
“When you read a children's novel – or more than one novel – across an entire district, you spark a communitywide conversation. That conversation takes place on playgrounds and parking lots, in grocery stores and churches, across your district,” Donnelley said. “A conversation that is rich, involving hundreds and thousands of students and families, inspires a rich appreciation of literature and lifelong readers. It establishes a culture of family literacy.”
“One District, One Book” continues through March 12 across the River Region. Visit a local library, share a reading experience, and inspire others.
“Read to them,” Donnelly said.
First- and second-grade Lew-Port students receive copies of the winning book.