Reading aloud to children boosts their vocabularies, language development, sound awareness and letter recognition abilities, according to the American Psychological Association. The Book Fairy Pantry project works to provide books at food pantries like the Zionsville Presbyterian Church Food Pantry. It’s a grassroots family literacy movement created by Pam Leo, author of “Connection Parenting.”
“I had heard about the Book Fairy Pantry Project on ‘Read Aloud Revival’ podcast,” said Emily Duhn, a Zionsville resident. “I just thought it was a beautiful project and wanted to get involved. I started contacting pantries in the area.”
Duhn was then connected with Marty DuRall, who volunteered at ZPCFS.
“I was already going out to thrift stores and buying books to give out at the pantry,” DuRall said. “But it was a smaller, one-person-type show.”
The two teamed up in January to increase the number of books given away. The pantry now has a cart with an aquarium theme to hold the books.
“The pantry is open on Thursdays and Fridays,” Duhn said. “Marty will be there, and when she sees a child, she offers them a book to take home and keep. Or she might ask an adult if they have children in their home they can read to and offer them a book.”
The goal is to get books into the hands of parents and children who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
“The kids can come up and go through the books, or I usually try to engage them by asking them what they like or what they’re interested in,” DuRall said. “I sometimes see the kids after I’ve given them a book so I like to ask them if they enjoyed it.”