Nothing to Read

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

Quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson

A shelf in the high school media center

I recently assigned my juniors to independently read a book every nine weeks. We took part of a class period and visited the media center to ensure that every student had access to a variety of books. I was absolutely floored by the emptiness of the building. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised; the county that I work (and live) in is a poor rural county. The average wage in Hoke County is $18,421. Most households’ combined income is less than $50,000. Less than 15% of adult residents hold a degree beyond high school. I also discovered that the library has not had any money to purchase new books since 2009. 2009!

My classroom library

As an avid reader, I find this utterly unacceptable. I raided my personal library and brought in everything that I felt was appropriate for the age and reading levels of my students. I also secured donations of books from John Joseph Adams (thanks!) for both my classroom and the school media center.

I am convinced that writers are not only generous people, but also realize the importance of educating the up and coming generations as much as possible. Therefore, I’m sending out a plea for book donations to help bolster our media center. In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling you will get, the donation can also be used as a tax deduction.

As the primary motivator behind this endeavor, I have volunteered to sort and compile any donations. Books appropriate for high school students can be sent to the following address:

  • Hoke County High School
  • c/o Rebecca Sasala
  • 505 Bethel Rd.
  • Raeford, NC 28376

Thank you!

Update: I’ve started an Amazon wish list, but it is by no means exclusive. Our school library is visited by our students as well as teachers and staff. Anything that is not outright erotica is acceptable.  If we get multiple copies of a book, they will be offered to English classrooms of appropriate age for their class libraries.



36 thoughts on “Nothing to Read”

  1. always happy to help when it comes to sharing books…any restrictions on what to send? I notice it’s called media center–would audiobooks be good too (I have audiobooks, graphic novels, and regular books that I’m regularly offloading from reviewing gigs).


    1. Thank you!

      Audio books and graphic novels would be great! We have three manga books in the library. The slower readers tend to like them. Audio books are also good for those that have trouble decoding the words. I have one ESL student who is trying, but reading an age appropriate book is really hard for him. Having an audio would be easier since he understands better than he can read. Our county has a large migrant labor population, so I’m sure he’s not the only one with that issue. He’s just the one I know about.


    2. The media center has a few audio books on hand but additional ones would be so nice. Each student attending Hoke High School is issued a Dell Chromebook in which they can take home and use also. Many of our students do not have the intranet at home so an audio book would work for them. Some of the students have not gained the love of reading yet. With that said an audio book could get their interest up.


  2. I work in book publishing (I’m an agent) and we have a lot of problems finding places to send book donations. Is there anything you *wouldn’t* take? I primarily have fiction–mostly sci-fi/fantasy, but also some thriller and YA I’ll definitely send. But some of it is, say, Stephen King, and there are people that don’t like that being made available in schools.

    Also, let me know if you need/would be open to books in other languages.


    1. I’ve have at least one student reading Steven King, though there are none of his books in our library. When I talked to the librarian about adult novels, however, she said that there are some kids that read at that level, so she thought they would be ok. She also mentioned that teachers could always use more reading material as well. So my thought is that anything deemed too adult for the library shelves would end up in the hands of teachers, in the teacher’s workrooms, or put to use in some other way (like being added to a club’s yard sale fundraiser).

      We would definitely be open to books in other languages, particularly Spanish. Our area also has a growing Middle Eastern population, but I’m not sure which of the variety of languages would be most appropriate for the students we have.


    2. Stephen King is great. I feel this is a high school and it is our roll as educators along with parents to teach our student different genres. We could really use some books in other languages. Thank you so much.


  3. Hi. I wouldn’t be me today if not for the school library and public libraries where I was able to read so many wonderful books. I would very much like to help. Do you have a wishlist of books you would like to have?


    1. Thank you so much for being willing to help! I didn’t put together a list, but any award winners in the past 5-7 years is probably a good start.

      The National Book Award (http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2017.html#.WbnPzMh9670)

      Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/quick-picks-reluctant-young-adult-readers)

      Best Fiction for YA (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/best-fiction-young-adults)

      The William C. Morris Award (http://researchguides.library.vanderbilt.edu/c.php?g=68590&p=449392)

      The Printz Award (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/printz-award)


    1. What is present in the library is a little bit of several things. I saw regular fiction, mystery, and some sci-fi/fantasy. We have nothing that was published in the past roughly 8-10 years, with the exception of a class set of one or two novels taught to freshmen. So, really, anything recent would be helpful.


  4. As a Scifi and Fantasy author, I would be happy to donate copies of all of the books I currently have in print (10). Would it be okay if I had them shipped directly to you or should I order copies, and resend them?


      1. Okay, heard back from the printer:

        Estimated Delivery Date: Thu, Oct 12, 2017

        Oh, and just noticed the posts do not have my name on them. So when you see 10 books by Vincent Trigili show up, you can know they are from me. Enjoy! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My last child is a senior in high school, so we are sorting books. Definitely have some classics that were required reading as well as sci-fi/fantasy. How do you feel about romances? I have a ton of those!


    1. Teachers gotta read too! Seriously, anything is good. Besides the teachers and staff, romance is a huge draw for teenage girls. There is far less romance in the library now than any other genre. And congrats on your youngest being a senior! Mine graduated high school last year.


    1. I saw the librarian today, but totally forgot to ask her about ARCs. I’d guess that they would be fine. I don’t think they would want the bound manuscript versions, but a trade or mass market ARC should be ok.


  6. I recently mailed a few books from your Amazon list and also mailed a package last weekend that should get to you in a week of a lot of age appropriate books. Good luck with this endeavor!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check with you on that. I know there are four teachers that teach seniors. And five that teach juniors. We also have sophomores and freshmen, but I don’t know how many teachers cover those classes. My guess would be four or five each for a total of about 20 English teachers.


      1. I have a Facebook friend who is willing to give you several hundred non-fiction books. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s in Florida and you will have to have someone pick them up. He’s suggest using an Econoline van. Let me know if this works for you.


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