We first met Seema, Rebecca, and Tamara, founders of the Brooklyn Book Bodega at the Brooklyn Book Festival several years ago. Not long after we’d launched Hello, My Name is Bunny! New York City. We soon learned more about their incredible work, which inspired us to donate some of our books to their program. That was the beginning of a mutually appreciative friendship.
Brooklyn Book Bodega’s mission is to increase the number of 100+book homes in NYC for kids aged 0-18. That’s because the science is clear: kids who grow up in homes with more books have better life outcomes. It’s that simple!
Since their founding in 2019, Brooklyn Book Bodega has helped more than 60,000 kids and their families develop their home libraries by giving out more than a staggering 230,000 books! They’re on track to reach 20,000 readers with 100,000 books donated in 2022 alone.
When we spoke recently, Rebecca explained, “Seema, Tamara, and I met through our children, who went to the same school. We quickly learned there are many book deserts—places with few books for sale or for loan—in Brooklyn. That’s what inspired us to create Brooklyn Book Bodega and to bring books to where children spend most of their time—their home.”
Seema added: “One of our core values is choice. We want kids and their families to enjoy reading for more than just learning. Learning is important, of course, but reading should also be for fun, comfort, joy, and curiosity!”
A highlight for the 501(c)(3) in 2022 was partnering with the Brooklyn Public Library to take part in the Incubator Pitch Competition—which they won! They went on to co-host a series of workshops and give plenty of books to kids and families.
If you’re passionate about books and about empowering every child to love literature, there are many ways you can get involved with Brooklyn Book Bodega. You can volunteer, donate books, donate money, host a book drive, or even host your own book giveaway.
In fact, this #GivingTuesday (November 29th) is the perfect opportunity to see how you can help inspire future generations to love books and reading as much as you do! Brooklyn Book Bodega’s goal is to raise $20,000 to bring more books to more children in 2023, regardless of their family income. You can find out more, as well as donate here.
And if anyone questions the value of literature in children’s lives, just remind them of what the great Dr. Seuss once said: “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”