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Our Story

In 2002, my husband Marc and I opened Books About You.  We had

heard about a personalized book business owner in another state who

was bringing FREE personalized books to groups of “at risk” children

and having some awesome results.  That’s what WE wanted to do.  

I had a personalized book when I was a kid (many years ago), and I’d

seen how excited my own children were when they saw their names

in the stories.  Imagine what a great impact we could have on these

kids’ self-esteem and excitement about reading. 

Yes, we would do this program! 

Weeks later while doing a book display at a local baby store, I met a teacher from a Baltimore City Head Start Center.  She told me about the Head Start program, and I was convinced that her center was the perfect group of students to receive our books.  I met with the Director, we discussed the idea of us bringing FREE personalized books to all the children at his centers, and (surprise, surprise!) he very enthusiastically agreed to be part of our program.  Oh, and THEN I finally thought to ask him how many children we were talking about…..about 350 give-or-take a few.  (How was I to know that I just happened to choose one of the largest Head Start Center in the state)  Well, I had already shaken his hand and told him we were “in”, so I went home & informed my poor, unknowing husband that we were going to be producing 350 books in the next several weeks.  We needed help!!!!!!

First there was the question of how we would pay for all those books.  Remember, we were just starting out in this new venture.  Then came the question of how we would physically produce that quantity of books in time.                   At that moment, I was so very thankful for all the wonderful business friends I had connected with over the years.  With a few phone calls, we had the promised funding thanks to some very generous (and trusting) business colleagues of mine.  And I’m happy to say that almost all of them are still involved with our program 10+ years later. 

Then came the challenge of producing the books.  Time to call the parents!  With folding tables set up in my basement AND my bedroom, we quickly became a well-oiled, book-making machine.  Ok, so we weren’t all that quick, and maybe not even that “well-oiled” (yet), but we managed to produce all the books in time for our first Give A Book celebration.

The big day came, and my business friends arrived in their suits and skirts to hand out       the books to the children at a local church that had allowed us to hold the celebration there.  The Baltimore City Mayor agreed to be our first guest-reader, and after a packed room of 3-5 year olds enjoyed a participatory reading of “Little One, Little One, What Do You See”, I began giving books to sponsors to hand out to the children. 

Suddenly, something magical happened – one of those “goose-bump moments” that don’t come around often.  I looked around the room filled with children, parents and sponsors.  On one side of the room, I saw some of my well-dressed business friends sitting “criss-cross-apple-sauce” on the cold cement floor with children on their laps reading and chatting.  In another corner, other sponsors were talking and reading to the children in a circle.  Everywhere I looked there were children AND adults with big wide eyes smiling ear to ear, laughing and enjoying reading together.  This was it!  This was even more than I could have hoped for!  That’s when I knew that this was just the beginning of many more Give A Book programs.

After 10+ years, thanks to our generous business and community sponsors, we’ve expanded the MDL Give A Book program into Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Howard County and Anne Arundel County.  But we have LOTS more children who need us!  Our mission is simple: to get young children so excited about reading that they never want to put their book down!  I hope you’ll check out the rest of our website, share it with lots of others and come join us!  Together we can help create a better world one book and one special child at a time.  Happy reading!


Click to find out how the program works

Click to find out what the "MDL' stands for


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