Bess the Book Bus is a local nonprofit/mobile literacy outreach dedicated to building home libraries for children and families that otherwise may not have the opportunity to own books. Bess the Book Bus recently donated art and activity books to Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association.

Bess the Book Bus is a local nonprofit/mobile literacy outreach dedicated to building home libraries for children and families that otherwise may not have the opportunity to own books.

“We build home libraries and a love for reading in our most underserved communities across the USA by making the joy of book ownership a reality for our kids,” said Bess’ head bus driver, Jenn Frances. “Bess the Book Bus’ volunteers and board members envision a nation where all of our children have access to the basic resources they need to be successful in school and later in life.”

Frances started the nonprofit because she wanted something more in life.

“I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled in life,” Frances said. “I was happy, but something was missing.”

She was looking for a volunteer opportunity because she loves volunteering. “I couldn’t find one that was a good fit for me, so I thought about what I liked to do, cashed in my 401(k) and bought a Volkswagen bus.”

From there, Bess the Book Bus was born.

Since its inception, Bess the Book Bus has served more than 25,000 children and given away 900,000 books in dozens of states across the USA each year.

Bess the Book Bus recently donated multiple art and activity books to Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association in Brandon.

“These books will be used in our children’s art classes,” said Center Place’s executive board president, Ryan Odiorne. “We have also shared this amazing book donation with our community partners. This way, all of our families will be able to do art at Center Place as well as fun creativities at home with their families. We are so thankful for Bess the Book Bus and all they do for Center Place.”

Bess the Book Bus will soon be debuting a new bus in the community.

“I’m thrilled that we received such amazing community support [and] that we will be debuting our new book bus very soon,” Frances said.

If you would like to learn more about Bess the Book Bus or if you’d like for Frances to bring Bess the Book Bus to your location, you can visit her website at www.bessthebookbus.org.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.