Giving Tree 2014: BookSpring

Our annual Giving Tree is up in BookKids! The Giving Tree is one of our favorite parts of the holiday season. Every year, Merrilee hand-cuts dozens of delicate paper snowflakes to decorate our Giving Tree. On the back of each snowflake is the name and age of a child who would like a book for the holidays, or a request for a specific book by title. Take a snowflake from the tree, select a book and bring both to our registers. We’ll make sure the book is wrapped and delivered. Or ask a cashier how you can add a monetary donation to your purchase today to help brighten a lucky child’s holiday.

This year’s Giving Tree benefits: Dell Children’s Hospital, BookSpring, and Women’s Storybook Project of Texas.


We talked to BookSpring‘s interim Executive Director, Jill Gonzalez, to find out more about how they work with young readers in our community. 

What is Bookspring’s mission?

BookSpring’s provides books, tools and reading materials to children and their families so they can develop a desire to read and succeed in school and life. Our vision is a community in which all children have the opportunity to become literate.

How and when was BookSpring founded?

BookSpring was founded in 2008 through a merger of Reading is Fundamental of Austin and Capitol Area Reach Out and Read. We are an Austin original! RIF of Austin had been operating since 1974 and Reach Out and Read started in Austin in 1998.

How do you work with the community here in Austin?

We provide the Reading is Fundamental program to 52 elementary/preschool sites. We also serve the community by providing the Reach Out and Read program in 31 clinics. Each of the over 36,000 children receive 2 to 3 brand new books each year. Along with the books, we provide motivational activities, community volunteer support, read alouds and training to physicians, librarians and teachers. In addition to our national programs, we have developed a “Parent Book Club” program which works to teach parents the skills they need to effectively share books with their children and help them succeed in learning to read.


What programs and initiatives is Bookspring currently working to develop?

BookSpring is investigating a new Reading is Fundamental program that is STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) focused. This new program will give out more books to each student, when they are headed home for breaks from school. It will also work with teachers on strategies for teaching with non-fiction books and boosting vocabulary knowledge. BookSpring is also piloting a “Play to Learn” program with the United Way of Greater Austin to teach parents of young children parenting skills and effective use of technology.

What will a Giving Tree donation mean for Bookspring? How will the donated books be used?

BookSpring is able to buy large quantities of books, but we do have to remain within our budget. The Giving Tree donations allow students in our programs to choose from a wider variety of books than we can afford. We can rarely purchase a current popular title. Many classic stories are out of reach as well. We know that all books are special, and giving a child the opportunity to pick an “awesome” book is how the Giving Tree will help us. The joy we see on children’s faces when they get to pick a book that they’ve “always wanted!” is truly amazing!

All donated books will go directly to children in Austin. The children we serve are in great need! Many of our program children do not have books in their home except for those they have received from BookSpring.

Did you know that a middle income child in America has between 50-200 books in their personal library by the time they start school? For the children we serve, there is 1 book for every 300 children. We are working to change this statistic! You can be the change, you can make a difference by helping to build a child’s library – one book at a time!

3 thoughts on “Giving Tree 2014: BookSpring

  1. How long will the tree be up? I didn’t see a date range. I’ve been slammed this year and went to do Toys for Tots this morning and they’d already done their final pick-ups.

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