Shout out to Palm Elementary School for being one of 5,000 schools, across the country, to be named recipients of a $500 grant from bestselling author James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs!
This week, Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs announced that Palm Elementary School is the recipient of a $500 grant and 500 Scholastic Book Clubs Bonus Points for the purpose of building classroom and at-home libraries for students. Palm received the grant, as part of a $2.5 million personal donation made by Patterson.
Palm Principal Deborah Pustulka—who applied on the school’s behalf—said she is thrilled and excited to receive the grant for her students, as schoolwide reading has become an initiative fostered through “One School One Book”—a movement designed to get the entire school community, including parents, involved in the joy of reading. 
Principal Pustulka said last year, her school read Betty G. Birney’s "School Days according to Humphrey" but the OSOB momentum was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the entire school district to shut down in March. During that brief time, parents, students and staff were excited about reading together, and teachers were able to implement daily activities into their curriculum and rewards were earned, by students, who were able to come up with correct answers pertaining to trivia questions about the book. 
Principal Pustulka added she is eager to transition back from remote to in-class learning so that students, staff and families can rekindle the OSOB initiative so much, she has already utilized a portion of the grant to purchase a school set of renowned author Katherine Applegate’s number one New York Times bestselling book "The One and Only Ivan." 
With the books having already arrived and waiting for students to return to Palm, Principal Pustulka said she is anxious to once again witness the excitement her students emanated when they collectively read as a school community, last school year.
“It creates such a common bond within the school family but also within the family unit,” Principal Pustulka said.  “It is an activity the whole family can get involved with because younger students are listening to the same story older students or parents are reading. There were many positive comments from families.”
This year marks the sixth annual installment of the Patterson Partnership, created to build classroom and home libraries and assist teachers in acquiring books and other materials—educational tools so desperately needed by them and their students. 

This was a sentiment echoed by both Patterson and Judy Newman, president and reader in chief of Scholastic Book Clubs.
“Whether students are learning virtually at home or in the classroom, the importance of keeping them reading cannot be underscored enough,” Patterson said. “Reading teaches kids empathy, gives them an escape when they most need it, helps them grapple with harsh realities, and perhaps most importantly, will remind them that they are not alone—even if they’re unable to see their teachers, classmates and friends in-person. Over the past six months, reading has certainly helped me cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and I can only hope it will do the same for kids and teachers everywhere.”
Newman concurred every child deserves the chance to lose themselves in a good book, and now more than ever, students are in need of a rich selection of stories they can choose from and explore, that will make them laugh, offer them an escape, and help them make sense of the world and of themselves. 
“At Scholastic Book Clubs, our mission has always been to support teachers day in and day out while they do the critical work of connecting their students to the quality books that will transform them into lifelong readers,” Newman said.
“Nobody recognizes the importance of great teachers and great books more than James Patterson, and thanks to his tremendous generosity, 5,000 teachers now have the funds to build libraries both in the classroom and at home for their students, and countless kids now have the opportunity to discover the books that will make them fall in love with reading.”
The 2020 partnership drew a total of more than 100,000 applicants from teachers nationwide, showing the dire need for books and classroom resources. To date, Patterson has donated $11 million to school and classroom libraries through his Scholastic Book Clubs campaign.
Lorain City Schools would like to thank James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs for bestowing our Palm Elementary School family with this generous grant, and would like to wish you all happy reading!

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