Books Build Ag Literacy

Posted: November 13, 2019

Did you know…

  • If popped, the twenty million kernels of popcorn produced on one acre of land would cover the ground like four inches of snow?
  • A single Merino sheep hair is three times finer than the average human hair?
  • A boy named Junius who was born into slavery later became the “Potato King of the World” growing millions of spuds on a farm in Kansas?

These are just a few of the facts students and teachers can learn as they explore the books donated to school libraries in DeKalb County this fall. This year’s book donations to area schools bring the total donated to 106 titles since 2002.


As happens every year, local sponsors make the donations of ag-related children’s books possible. Farm and food-related businesses, organizations, and farm families step up each year to provide funds needed to purchase the books. Upon opening each donated book, readers will discover a label recognizing the sponsor or sponsors of that title.

Seven titles were donated this year, including “George Washington Carver for Kids” by Peggy Thomas, “Merino Sheep” by Rosaura Esquivel, “Mosey’s Field” by Barbara Lockhart, “No Small Potatoes” by Tonya Bolden, “Popcorn Country” by Cris Peterson, “Right This Very Minute” by Lisl H. Detlefsen, and “STEAM Jobs in Agriculture and Food Development” by Kevin Walker.

Thirty-four schools benefitted from this effort. Each library received titles appropriate to the grade levels within that building.

A total of 216 books were distributed, bringing the number of items donated since 2002 to nearly 3,500.

(Above) Sponsors gather with kindergarten students at James R. Wood Elementary in Somonauk to preview the new books. Shown are (from left): J.R. Wood librarian Sarah George, student Griffin Carpenter, Brett Smith of the DeKalb County Lamb & Wool Producers, student Meadow Nelson, COUNTRY Financial agent Kathleen Martin, students Evelyn Swenson and Johnson Hoffman, Ed Cowan from the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation, student Megan Rogowski, and Brad Cessna of Bud’s Popcorn. Culver’s of Sycamore also sponsored books this year.