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Students at Oak Park Elementary receive new books thanks to ABC Action News' "If You Give A Child A Book" campaign

Book Fair
Posted at 3:14 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 16:27:55-05

TAMPA — Last year ABC Action News asked our viewers to help donate to the annual, “If You Give A Child A Book” campaign.

This month those donations helped provide more than 1,000 new books to students at Oak Park Elementary School in Tampa

“The students have been so excited they came in with a wish list of books and they have been jumping for joy,” said Assistant Principal Ashley Cochol.

All 400 plus students were invited to come on stage during their lunch periods and take home three new books in their new book bags.

“There’s nothing better than cracking open a fresh book and having that book in hand where the students can read the words on the page and really just get that love of reading,” said Cochol.

Many of these students dove into their new adventures before lunch was even over.

“I feel like when I get a brand new book I can’t wait to read it and see what it’s about,” said third-grader Jame’se Robinson.

Fifth grader Jaquez Stevens said reading is a great alternative for after school, as opposed to playing video games or watching TV.

“Its kind of fun getting all these books because you usually don’t get to take these books home for free, it’s a nice option,” said Stevens.

Cochol said for many of these students buying new books at the store just isn’t possible.

“Our students come from varying backgrounds and experiences, some challenges that some of us as adults have never experienced in our lifetime,” said Cochol.

Many of the books were specifically selected to represent the diversity of Oak Park.

“Some of the main characters in the books face the same challenges that our students see on a day to day basis and something they can relate to,” said Cochol

Teachers said gaining an appreciation for reading at a young age will set you in a positive direction for life and they are so appreciative to all of those who donated to “If You Give A Child A Book.”

“It is so nice to feel that we have partners from outside the school that want to come in and love our students,” said Cochol. “We would just like to really thank ABC Action News, Scripps Howard Foundation and Scholastic for providing this opportunity for our students.”

Oak Park Elementary said they are expecting another shipment of books in May thanks to “If You Give A Child A Book,” just in time for summer reading.

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