By Gwen Rollings
Heather Hindman, a Ruskin resident and former first and third grade language arts teacher, began Pass-A-Book in 2017. Since then, there have been over 3,000 gently used children’s books distributed to individuals, schools, teachers and nonprofit groups.
Hindman explained, “We must recognize that although children can read online, the experience of feeling the weight of a book in your hands, the sound of a turning page, the scent of aging paper, is irreplaceable.”
Consumer Insight Director Alison David offers other benefits for book reading in her article, ‘How do we preserve the art of reading for pleasure?’
“Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s success academically, more than social background or parents’ education. Children who read for pleasure have increased concentration, memory, confidence, greater self-esteem and general knowledge. Reading builds empathy, improves imagination and language development. These are important and relevant benefits, whether we live in a digital or analogue world,” she said.
Although Hindman left teaching after her daughter was born, her language arts training did not leave her. After her experience in working with children in low-socioeconomic areas, she wanted to get books into the hands of many children who didn’t own a single book so they would love and cherish the stories than define childhood and excite their imaginations.
The idea of how to get books to children began with Hindman donating her own personal collection of the many bins of books stored at her home. The Pass-A-Book project spread through social media and word of mouth as families and consignment shops continue to donate their children’s books. Even seniors from Sun City Center contribute their nonfiction on the intermediate and middle school levels, including botany and travel.
Pass-A-Book is available to anyone who asks and the books are delivered to schools, teachers, media centers and classroom libraries and are provided for a local nonprofit tutoring program’s ‘graduation.’ Hindman said the graduate and all children in the family are able to pick books to bring home because so many of their younger siblings want to read.
Hindman added, “Years after our Kindles break or our phones are replaced, and hence those words are lost forever, we can always pick up a much-loved book and start again from page one—just for the pleasure of it.”
For book donations or information on obtaining a book, call 672-4084 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for drop-off or pickup.