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home : news : news Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5/1/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
CCHS grads get together to promote joys of reading

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

For Central Community High School graduate Chrissy Thiel Kitchen, making the decision to become a "giver" for the World Book Night Organization was not a difficult one.

Not by a long shot.

To put it simply, the mother of two and proprietor of One River Enrichment Center in Davenport loves children and always has loved reading.

When given the opportunity to combine these two interests, Kitchen didn't hesitate. She learned about the World Book Night Organization and how to apply to be a volunteer giver from none other than her sister and fellow Central graduate, Michelle Thiel Havener.

The World Book Night Organization celebrates books and reading on the same day every year - April 23, which is William Shakespeare's birthday - by providing books to 25,000 volunteers from across the country to distribute to schools and youth organizations.

Every year, a panel of librarians and booksellers selects 30 books. The authors of the books waive their royalties and publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially printed World Book Night editions.

Once the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. April 23, selected givers deliver the books to their locations of choice.

Much to their delight, both Havener of Marion and Kitchen of Camanche were chosen to become givers - not only because they're sisters, but also because reading and April 23 hold special meaning to them and their families.

April 23 is the birthday of their beloved late aunt, Margie McDermott.

"(McDermott) was a lover of children, of books and of education," Kitchen shares. "(Havener) and I are doing this as a special way to commemorate her."

Kitchen was provided with 20 copies of actress, comedienne, writer and producer Tina Fey's book "Bossypants."

With the help of Central family resource director Amanda Greubel, Kitchen recently distributed 10 of the books to Central high school language arts teachers Liz Dague and Rachel Niles. She delivered the remaining 10 copies to her former classmate Miriam Prichard, who is the associate director of Theplace2b, a youth organization in Rock Island, Ill.

The goal of the World Book Organization is to spark an interest in and spreading the love of reading to young adults by exposing them to a variety of books.

"I'm just thrilled I was picked and was able to do something like this," Kitchen relates.

Providing security with the covers of books, blankets

Being chosen to be a World Book Night giver ties in closely with another project Kitchen has been working on together with her friend fellow 1998 high school grad, Gina Ryan Schlicksup.

For the past few months, the pair have been outlining plans for a non-profit organization that promotes literacy by providing young children with books and bringing them comfort with fleece tie blankets.

They also want to target "tweens" and teens as well.

Schlicksup, a former early-childhood teacher who now is a stay-at-home mom and writes a blog called "Living Life on the Lane: The Tales of a Stay-At-Home Mom With Big Ideas," recently held a contest to give the project an appropriate name.

"Cover to Cover" was voted the winner.

With plenty of details still to be worked out, Kitchen and Schlicksup hope to build a collection of books and blankets over the summer and kick off the 2013-2014 school year on a positive note to youngsters in need.

"Reading always has been such an important part of my life that I want to do what I can to get some wonderful book titles into kids' hands," Schlicksup relates.

"We're both really pumped about this project," Kitchen adds. "It feels like the start of something great."

Stay tuned to The Observer as more details emerge and to find out how to help.

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