Fox Lane High School Student Creates Book Drive, Hopes to Collect 5,000 Books to Help Foster Childhood Literacy

3,985 Books and Counting…

Charlie Della Penna, a junior and honors student at Fox Lane High School, has created a children’s book drive to benefit underserved school libraries.

Charlie, who has a passion for helping with childhood literacy, developed the idea to reach out to independent bookstores in the Northern Westchester area asking if they would support his efforts by allowing him to set up donation bins with signage to collect children’s books that a family might have outgrown. 

Charlie approached several bookstores including Booksy in Pound Ridge, Little Joe’s in Katonah, and Scattered Books in Chappaqua, and he was amazed to see how supportive the owners of these bookstores were. As Charlie says, “I thought this would be an ideal time of year for this book drive as parents are thinking about their children going back to school. Parents can look on their bookshelves to see if there are some favorite books their child might have outgrown that could bring a smile to another child when given the opportunity to enjoy a favorite story all over again.”

The books that Charlie is collecting will go to K-5th grade students at Bronx Charter School for Children, Bronx Academy of Promise, and a local elementary school in Danbury. The children’s books collected will go to good use as Charlie learned that one of the schools in the Bronx has no books to start the school year in their 1st grade classroom.

Charlie got the idea for his book drive through his volunteer work with elementary school age children at Summer Links, a non-profit program run for children of immigrants where English is not the native language. As Charlie says, “Reading and enjoying books is so important for children and not all kids have easy access to books they can connect with. I wanted to create something that would benefit children in economically challenged areas and make an impact in their school.”

Charlie’s goal is to collect 5,000 books, an ambitious quantity, as this is the number of books that a small school library can contain.

Parents who are interested in supporting Charlie’s book drive can donate new or gently used children’s books at the three bookstores mentioned above. His book drive is going on now until the end of September.


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