Some Serious Book Reviewers

Two BookEnds recipients review the books they received. So fun. Great job, Flynn and Joseph! We love that you took the book reviewing task so seriously. Those are some of our favorite books too!

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Fan mail… in blog form!

We often get fan mail from the families who were super happy to receive their boxes of books. Usually this takes the form of email thank yous and fun photos of kids opening boxes or reading their new books. So great!

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But sometimes the moms are bloggers and the arrival of a box is such a big deal that they blog about it!

We’ve had two of these type of ‘fan mail’ recently and we love it!

One is from the mom of Ella and Addy in Asia.

Can’t disagree with that blog post title! (It’s actually her second blog post about BookEnds! Here’s her first.)

The second is from the mom of kiddos Jonah and Eli in Columbia.

We’ve actually featured this family before! They are big readers and book lovers.

Click the links to see pictures of happy kids with books and some enthusiastic fans!

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Happy book recipients!

This family received 3 boxes, 1 for each kid to open!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                       Their mom said they were thrilled!

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The pictures she sent us confirm it! Those are some pretty happy kids!

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Why Books? A Mom Explains

Annette reads to sons Jonah and Eli when they were a little younger.

People who haven’t lived overseas often wonder why, out of all the things you could send, we opt for books.

Annette, who recently moved with her family (kids aged 1 and 2, and the third on the way!) to Columbia, gives her take on why books are such a life necessity:

Moving here was tough as all of our earthly belongings were either packed to store or brought on the plane with us. We of course brought books for our boys (and some for ourselves). But as books are a bit heavier, we had to leave most behind. I think that was the hardest thing, besides family and friends, to leave behind. We figured God would help us get some more along the way and lo and behold, someone told me about you guys! We read to our boys every night, and our 2 year old has almost all the books we brought memorized and “reads” them to us at night instead! 

Our goal is to continue to read to them every night even when they are old enough to read by themselves. There is something about a family reading and taking an adventure together that really excites me. I can’t wait till we can start reading the Chronicles of Narnia with them. Obviously we have a bit of time to wait on that, but we are excited none-the-less.

I could talk about my boys and our crazy, adventurous life for a long time, so I’ll stop there. Please let us know if you could help us out with some more books. This is such a marvelous idea, by the way! We would be so grateful to have more books in English!
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Christmas thank yous from Indonesia

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Isaiah enjoys the newly arrived BookEnds package!

We often fill the little crevices in book boxes with whatever fun non-book items that will fit in those awkward spaces. This recent email from package recipients in Indonesia in shows how much of a big hit these items often are!

We were so excited to receive a box of books and goodies today! Our four year old son, Isaiah, wasted no time at all getting to the books. He took the two stuffed animals to sleep with him tonight and was thrilled to hear that yes, he can keep them forever. Thank you so much for this great ministry.

P.S. We even used the cookie cutters today and played crazy 8s waiting for the dough to chill! Thanks so much for a box full of goodies 🙂

And speaking of Indonesia, we also got this precious testimony about how much physical books mean from a mom of three in Indonesia who had just heard about BookEnds:

I got a link to your blog from a friend. I read it and started crying… I am an MK from former Zaire and I remember re-reading the stories we had over and over. Now I live with my family in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia. We chose our homeschool curriculum cause it was heavy on books and Grandma gave the kids kindles to read off of… but you are right that there is nothing like the pages of a book in your hands. While traveling off our island recently my oldest (age 9) begged for a new book in English and I told him we could look at getting it on his Kindle. He said “Ok, but I really like to hold a book when I am reading.” My husband ended up buying it without him knowing for Christmas present ’cause neither of us could argue with that.

Awwww!

Merry Christmas to all of our dear overseas worker families! You are precious to us! We are so glad we can remind you of your Father’s love for you in this way!

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2013 End of Year Report!

bikephoto22013 was a great year for BookEnds. We sent….[drumroll, please]….3712 books to 40 families in 18 countries!

We’ve been steadily increasing the number of books sent in these last few years. In large part that’s because Jeanne’s husband, John, brought his organizational gifts to the project. John got BookEnds using the invaluable LibraryThing database and helped to revamp and streamline the book requesting process. Not to mention all the countless hours he regularly spends entering new or departing books! (He says he finds it relaxing!!!)

John has a real competitive streak and so somehow his BookEnds helping turned into a ‘race’ between the number of books sent and the number of miles he biked, in 2012. Naturally, the family thought this was hilarious and so featured it in their annual Christmas newsletter. We thought you’d like to join in the fun, so below you can read the official news story on the race! Bonus: Never before seen outtakes from the photo shoot to illustrate the article!


The Great Race

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“And coming around the final bend into December … they’re neck and neck! Well, it’ s been a tight race so far, but this last stretch is notoriously challenging, with hazards like holidays and concerts to avoid … Wait, it looks like Jeanne is falling behind. Maybe the colder weather is affecting her … No, it looks like she got distracted by a bystander in need! Will she be able to catch up? It seems unlikely that she can close what is now quite an impressive lead on John’ s part, but … what’ s this? He’s slowing down … perhaps it’s another flat tire, but no …wait… I don’ t believe this!!! He’s getting off his bike to take books to the post office! What is he thinking? …and… it’ s BookEnds by a hair!”

Such were the final moments of the epic year­long race between Jeanne’s BookEnds Project and John’s Biking Commuting! In this closely watched high stakes race, which kept fans enthralled to the end, the number of books sent overseas by Jeanne were pitted against the number of miles biked by John. The race was surprisingly close: final count 2545.5 miles for John, 2554 books for Jeanne. But behind this feel­good story of good deeds and exercise lurks scandal! Observant fans noted that despite John’s notorious competitive streak, his behavior during the race was not consistent with a winning strategy. Many an evening, he was found entering book titles into the BookEnds database, helping Jeanne pack books into boxes, and even filling out customs forms. What accounts for this overly­ caring conduct? Allegations that he intentionally threw the race are under investigation, and fans kept breathless during the race are in danger of going into respiratory arrest while they await the official verdict on the sensational photo­-finish.

   BookEnds 2012 Stats: 2554 books, 15 countries, 43 families
Biking 2012 Stats: 2545 miles, 3 Bent rims, 5 Broken spokes, 13 Flat tires, 2 Tires worn out, 3 Accidents

Photoshoot Outakes!

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BookEnds Moved!

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Guess what?!? BookEnds has new digs!

After spending its first couple years in Jeanne’s garage, and then several more years in the spare cupboards of Community Covenant, the BookEnds collection (some 4,000+ books strong!)  was looking for a new location. Yikes! Who would have the space to host so many books?

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We are SO thankful to Montecito Covenant for generously offering us a spacious new home! For the first time ever we have a whole room to ourselves, which allows for much better organization of the books.

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The books are kept in order by category and then alphabetically, which allows for them to be easily pulled when requested.

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Plus we did a massive book census as a part of the move so now we’re sure that every book is actually in the database!

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The place is roomy and light so it’s actually enjoyable to hang out in, and has a good working space to put together orders. And if any overseas families come in to town they could actually come and pick out books here in comfort! What luxury!

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So many wonderful books!!!

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