School district to hand out books at parade

A “Book Palace” created by Saranac Lake middle school teacher Maria DeAngelo is displayed in the Saranac Lake Middle School library. (Photo provided — Maria DeAngelo)

SARANAC LAKE — The school district plans to pass out brand new books at the Winter Carnival parade again this year.

School teachers and New York State United Teachers members will walk in the parade to give out free books to children and to promote literacy, said Don Carlisto, middle school teacher and co-president of the Saranac Lake Teachers Association.

“We’re looking forward to another great and fun Winter Carnival,” Carlisto said. “The teacher association loves being a part of it and we know it’s a really big event for the community. We’re just happy to play a small role like this.”

The books for the parade are provided through a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and an organization called First Book, whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with new books.

Middle school teacher Maria DeAngelo used the donation of the approximately 5,000 books to create a Book Palace in the district’s middle school library, which will be on display until the parade.

“The teachers association really believes that part of the mission is to promote a love of literacy and really kind of light the spark that leads to a lifelong love of books and literature,” Carlisto said. “Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a brand new book into the hands of a child who maybe has not had a brand new book before.”

This is the second year teachers and NYSUT members will pass out books after receiving a positive reception at the last parade, he said.

“The day of the parade it was minus 35 (degrees),” Carlisto said. “We were out there all bundled up and we had a blast. I think that people that lined the parade route, and especially the kids really loved the fact that they were watching the parade and then being handed a brand new book. It really put a smile on a lot of faces last year and it definitely made us happy to do it so we’re thrilled we get to do it again.”