Eager readers

Saranac Lake Rotary Club donates books to Bloomingdale Elementary School students

Connor Draper and Castiel Schultz show an interest in several of the books Saranac Lake Rotary Club members Mary Brown, pictured, and Dianne Tkach, not pictured, brought to Bloomingdale Elementary School on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

BLOOMINGDALE — Students at Bloomingdale Elementary School eagerly tore into books on the gym floor on Monday, given to them by Dianne Tkach and Mary Brown, both Rotarians with the Saranac Lake Rotary Club.

Each grade level at the school got a different book. Fourth-grade is a special year for the students — their book, “Why? 1,111 Answers to Everything,” had students’ names written on the inside cover.

Fourth-graders flipped through the pages of information, spinning around to show their friends pictures of mummies, monkeys and machines, or running up to their teacher to ask questions about eye colors and animals.

The Rotary Club gives every elementary school child in the Saranac Lake Central School District a book each year — close to 500 books this year — so by the time they move on to middle school, each student has a collection of five books.

Bloomingdale was the club’s first stop. Rotarians will also give books to students at Petrova Elementary and St. Bernard’s School in the near future.

Allison Snyder grins as she walks away with her copy of “All Through the Night.” (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

The club has done this for years — longer than Brown or Tkach has been there. They said it’s Rotary’s biggest initiative. The $2,500 in books is funded through events like the Olga Memorial Footrace and the Winter Carnival Rotary Show.

“We want kids to be successful readers,” Brown said. “One of the things that promotes that is ownership of books and books in the home.”

Tkach was a childrens’ librarian for many years. This is her passion. She said she developed a good sense for what they want to read.

The books given away on Monday were a big hit. Numerous students got their grade level’s book, but then asked Tkach or Brown if they could have one of the other books, too. They were excited by the covers they saw.

While there are only so many books to give away, these books can also be found at the library.

Ive Lester smiles with a new copy of “All Through the Night,” donated by Saranac Lake Rotary Club members Mary Brown and Dianne Tkach at Bloomingdale Elementary School on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

“I think some of the best creative energy goes into childrens’ books,” Brown said.

Brown and Tkach said seeing students running up to their teachers with questions and a hunger to learn keeps them coming back.

On Monday, Kindergarten students got “Nervous Nigel” by Bethany Christou. First graders got “All Through the Night” by Polly Faber and Harriet Hobday. Second graders got “A Foal Called Storm” by Helen Peters. Third graders got “Ada and the Galaxies” by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv. Fourth graders got “Why? 1,111 Answers to Everything” by Crispin Boyer. Fifth graders got “A Walk Through the Rain Forest” by Martin Jenkins and Vicky White.

The students also dressed as superheroes on Monday as part of a celebration of National Reading Week.

Henry Pelkey smiles as he grabs a copy of “All Through the Night” from Saranac Lake Rotary Club member Mary Brown. Pelkey is followed by Henry Hann, Wyatt Crosby, Grace Vanzant, Sophie Christmas and Annabelle Snyder. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

Brayden Schwartz, right, grins as he flips through “Why? 1,111 Answers to Everything.” Claudia Lawrence is seen at left. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

Claudia Lawrence asks her teacher, Brittany Petro, a question about eye colors while reading “Why? 1,111 Answers to Everything.” (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)


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