The Book Fairies Hosting Virtual Read-a-Thon in August

Amy Zaslansky founded The Book Fairies.
Amy Zaslansky founded The Book Fairies.

The Book Fairies, a Freeport-based nonprofit that donates reading materials for those in need, is hosting a virtual Read-a-Thon in August to engage kids after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted their education.

The organization normally hosts its many events in person, but had to adjust its programming to align with social-distancing mandates designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We have had to alter almost every aspect of how we work,” explained Eileen Minogue, executive director of The Book Fairies. 

Founded in 2012, the nonprofit dedicated to combating illiteracy celebrated its 2 millionth book donation in September and broke the Guinness World Record for the longest line of books in November. 

The idea for a Read-a-Thon came about as a way of compensating for the cancellation of an in-person scavenger hunt that was planned pre-COVID-19. 

The virtual Read-a-Thon challenges participants to read for 30 minutes for 30 days. Individuals of any age can participate in this month-long reading event and launch their own campaign. The fundraiser is especially important during this challenging time, when plenty of the organization’s usual fundraising streams have dried up and limits have had to be placed on volunteers.

“The work we used to do in a day now gets done in a week or more,” said Minogue. 

The Book Fairies used to receive a majority of their book donations from school drives, but have now had to ask individuals to host book drives from their homes. Their warehouse, which usually accommodates up to 30 volunteers, is now down to six to maintain social distancing. 

But the advocates are still pushing forward, and its determination is shown in the work that has been put into the Read-a-Thon, which will host activities like Wacky Word Wednesday and Trivia Night, and will feature some celebrity book readings. Sponsors will receive benefits such as social media promotions and being featured on T-shirts. 

“It’s all about leveling the playing field and making sure that children in low-income areas have… access to the tools they need for success,” said Minogue. “And it’s so simple because it starts with the books.”

The Book Fairies remain true to their mission to break the cycle of illiteracy. To participate in their fundraiser, visit classy.org

For more education coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/education

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters hereSign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.