As Fellows at The Patterson Foundation, it’s a joy and privilege to be a part of so many exciting projects across all of the initiatives. While each fellow focuses deeply on different areas, we all get tagged in on a variety of inspiring ideas.

In true TPF fashion, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-level Reading wasted no time in dreaming up innovative ways to support summer reading despite the challenges of COVID-19. And so THIS BOOK IS COOL! was born.

THIS BOOK IS COOL! (TBIC) is a series of webisodes for kids grades PreK-3. Each week, two books per grade level are featured. The webcast for each book includes:
— A special guest sharing five reasons why this book is cool
— Six vocabulary words and a suggested activity connected to the book
— THIS BOOK IS COOL! activity guide with step by step instructions for each featured book
— Bracelets and brag tag rewards for the children who participate

As two of the week one guests, we Fellows were honored to be a part of making magic.

Why Hannah’s TBIC experience was awesome:
The book I was invited to share about was A Butterfly is Patient, by Dianna Hutts Aston. The book is a beautifully illustrated, nonfiction story about the life cycle and special talents of butterflies. Did you know that Monarch butterflies can fly over 11,000 feet in the air? Amazing!

My favorite part of being a guest on TBIC cool was when Beth and I talked about who can be a scientist. Oftentimes, kids hear that science is only for boys. But A Butterfly Is Patient gave me the opportunity to talk about how science is really about discovery, and anyone can be an explorer. While these videos are short, any opportunity that we have to play “double duty” in reaching kids is valuable. It is a joy to bring not only books and activities to homes this summer but a wide range of role models providing examples of what’s possible outside what’s happening at home.

Why John’s TBIC experience was magical:
I was invited to share about the book Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea, by Ben Clanton. As someone who loves unicorns of all varieties, it was very special for me to share why this book is so cool. For starters, Narwhals are REAL! And have a horn-like tusk that can grow to over 10 feet tall. How cool is that?

The most magical part of being a guest on this particular episode of TBIC was the ability to weave in how great it is to embrace diversity in our “pods” of friends, just like Narwhal does. Beth and I talked about finding common ground with others and developing friendships with those different from you--and how much more interesting your life becomes as a result! Kids (and adults) learn life lessons in so many different ways. Reading is so important to a child’s development. It was so fun and rewarding to share reasons why this book, and reading in general, is cool, and hopefully help to spark a love for books that will last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts:
We are in unique and uncertain times with COVID-19 permeating seemingly every aspect of our lives. People and organizations have the opportunity to consider how they might create meaningful experiences and authentic connections in new ways. TBIC shines as an example of how to adapt to the current circumstances by designing innovative programs and methods to deliver high-quality programming in an engaging new way. As Fellows, we are confronting these challenges daily.

While it is not always simple, it has been overwhelmingly worthwhile. Our challenge to each of you is to consider how you might adapt and innovate in your personal and professional lives to continue to authentically connect, build and maintain relationships, and deliver outstanding content in new ways.

Learn more about THIS BOOK IS COOL!

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