Two Decades of Donated Books

Posted: November 10, 2021

“Upon the subject of education…I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” – Abraham Lincoln, as quoted by author Peggy Thomas in “Lincoln Clears a Path: Abraham Lincoln’s Agricultural Legacy.”

Oxford Languages defines literacy as “the ability to read and write,” and as “competence or knowledge in a specified area.”

For the 20th year, DeKalb County Farm Bureau and generous area donors have helped to address both meanings of the word. By providing food and farm-related children’s books to school libraries, this program enables students to practice their reading skills while simultaneously learning about agriculture.

North Elementary School in Sycamore was one of the 34 schools benefitting from this year’s book donation program. Library paraeducator Clare Dempsey and six students enjoyed the first peek at the new books. (From left) Shown are: Nolan Burch, Naya Collins, Esme Beckley, Mrs. Dempsey, Henry Hiland, Casey Adams, and Arden Butler.

In addition to “Lincoln Clears a Path” schools received “Erosion: How Hugh Bennett Saved America’s Soil and Ended the Dust Bowl,” by Darcy Pattison; “How to Grow an Apple Pie,” by Beth Charles; “Tech on the Farm,” by Holly Dufek; “Coolbean the Soybean,” by Shawn Conley; and “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” by Viola Butler.

Local sponsors make the donations of ag-related children’s books possible by providing funds needed for their purchase. Upon opening each donated book, readers will find a label recognizing the sponsor or sponsors of that title.

“It may be a digital world,” says Ag Literacy Coordinator Rhodora Collins, “but kids still read a lot of books. It’s a significant way they are learning about the world around them.”

A total of 199 books were distributed this fall, bringing the number of items donated since 2002 to more than 3,800.