I love books. I love reading books, thinking about books, collecting books, and talking about books.

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For 40 years, books have helped quench my thirst for knowledge and have taken me to wonderful and faraway places where I am able to escape reality, if only for a short time.

Any book lover will tell you that there's something euphoric about opening a new book, soaking in the smell, turning the pages by hand, and launching into a new journey. Any book lover will also tell you how much it aches their heart when they learn about kids whose families can't afford to buy them books of their very own.

I'm not talking about hand-me-down books or books purchased at garage sales or thrift stores. I'm talking about brand new, never owned by another kid, books.

I was the kid whose family wasn't well off enough to allow me to purchase a brand new book for myself when the yearly Scholastic Book Fair would roll around. I used to run home with the catalog and would circle all the books I wished I could buy, but in the back of my mind, I knew it would never happen.

I remember walking into the library year after year, fair after fair, and being greeted with the smell of freshly printed books. I would walk the rows, running my hands over the tops of the shiny new books and would swallow back sadness. I don't think my friends ever realized that I was too poor to buy any books, but I knew. And I've never forgotten.

Do you know how many kids wish for a new book of their very own? My son is starting kindergarten in the Montrose Area School District and I absolutely love what his teachers are doing. They've reached out to friends and family and have requested those people sponsor a student to receive a brand new book of their very own each and EVERY month of the school year through Scholastic books.

Scholastic offers school teachers the ability to buy select titles at a reduced price of just $1.00 each. So, when someone agrees to sponsor a child and gives a teacher $9 in total, the teacher is able to give one of their students a brand-new book each month during the school year. Our family decided to sponsor five kids this year because we're big believers in the power of reading, $45 isn't going to break us, and because we want every child to experience the pride and joy that comes from receiving a brand-new book.

If your kindergarten through 9th-grade teacher isn't doing something like this, you might want to mention it to them. This doesn't replace the book fair, but it gives our little readers the chance to own their very own brand-new book that they can take home and keep forever.

If you don't have children but would like to sponsor a child, definitely reach out to me and I'll get you in touch with someone from my son's school.

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