Author James Patterson helps stock William Walker Elementary School's library
Mega-best-selling author James Patterson has written a lot of books, but the National Geographic Readers, Minecraft and Fly Guy series are not among them.
However, thanks in large part to Patterson, kid favorites like those titles and others will soon help fill the shelves in William Walker Elementary Schools library.
Patterson recently donated $1.75 million to work with the Scholastic Reading Club on a program that will donate books to 467 libraries across the United States. Nearly 28,000 libraries applied to be part of the program.
Walkers $5,000 grant was the only one awarded in Beaverton and one of just a handful across Oregon. Nationally, the grants ranged from $1,000 to $10,000 per winning library, and Scholastic also is awarding matching bonus points to winners which will stretch book purchases further.
The opportunity to enhance and support our library was something I couldnt pass up, said Erika Pollock, a second-grade teacher at Walker. Its like the heart of the school.
She and Leilani Larsen, the schools former library media assistant, applied for the Patterson grant last year.
Current library media assistant Sally Bozarth said she is happy to pick up where Larson left off, helping to incorporate the new books into Walkers library collection during the second half of this year.
Weve been for a number of years working to upgrade our library, Principal Joann Hulquist said.
They specifically want to upgrade their nonfiction titles many of which are outdated and buy more bilingual books. They also will ask students for their favorites, which likely will include kid-friendly graphic novels, chapter books and picture books.
Hulquist said that nearly 60 percent of the schools 514 students are learning English as a second language, many of them Spanish speakers as well as those whose native languages include Arabic, Nepalese and others.
The school serves one of the lowest-income student bodies in Beaverton and many of their families cant afford books. Because of that, Hulquist said her staff works hard to provide access to as many books as possible at school, and the Patterson grant is a big shot in the arm for them.
Our general budgets pretty slim when it comes to doing extra (purchases), she said. To keep a library updated is a pretty expensive program.
School staff also encourage students to become readers by obtaining books that students can keep.
They dont have books at home, Pollock said. The presence of books reflects the value of books.
And thanks to a partnership with nearby Powells Books, the school is a somewhat regular stop for visiting writers, including popular childrens author Margaret Peterson Haddixs anticipated visit on Jan. 28.