Ethan & Choco's Book Club

Striving to make access to books and reading a core part of the care that SuperKids receive in the hospital, with the principal premise that literacy support for children fighting cancer and other life-threatening conditions can help promote cognitive development and social connections that are part of thriving through treatment and beyond


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A successful day at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival

We had so much fun at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival on Sunday! Our booth was off to the side, so we weren’t sure how much traffic we’d have — but we had a ton of visitors (probably helped by the giant Spin Wheel we had out!). Ethan tirelessly shared his story of diagnosis, founding ECBC, what we’re doing now, and his someday dream for CHOC and all Children’s Hospitals at least 100 times — resulting in some monetary and book donations, and lots of awareness raised. And, Ethan got a particular kick out of the handful of people who came to our booth and said, ‘I know who you are, I follow ECBC on Facebook” or “We’ve been read to at CHOC by one of your bedside readers.” We hope to keep increasing our visibility in the community and our impact!

Thank you to Barry Ackerman and Kids READ! (a local nonprofit that donates gently used books to kids in need) for sharing the booth with ECBC and for obtaining the four tickets to Fancy Nancy the Musical that we raffled off. And a big thank you to Girl Scout Troop #3115  for hitting up all the authors at the book festival and collecting so many new books for ECBC (160)! This is the girls’ third year doing this for us and they’re old pros at it now — approaching author after author, describing our cause, and asking for book donations for hospitalized kids. We’re grateful for Troop 3115’s ongoing support!

And of course, thank you to the ECBC supporters who stopped by our booth — we appreciate you!!

Troop 3115 with one of the authors they visited for book donations

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BRBR! Bedside Reading Brief Report

Two of ECBC’s expert bedside readers with the Read Aloud Wagons

We had such a fantastic afternoon at CHOC yesterday, bringing books and reading to patients in all sorts of ways! Our bedside reading team spent the afternoon on the 5th floor (oncology, neurology) — getting almost  100% “yes”s to their offers of a read aloud from our Read-Aloud Wagon. It was super fun to see one patient receive her fourth Book Band (there are 10 ECBC Book Bands that patients can receive and collect for each time they accept a book or a read aloud), and especially to be very proud to be wearing them all. Our bedside readers also gave away a bunch of books to infant through teenage patients in isolation. In addition, we did our monthly book delivery to the Outpatient Infusion Center (“OPI”), where Ethan received all of his outpatient chemo — re-stocking their shelves with approximately 80 books for patients and siblings to read and take home.

Finally, as of yesterday, we explicitly communicated with CHOC that we are now ready to systematically provide a Read+Think+Thrive Box for every new cancer diagnosis at CHOC. Prior to this, we have been providing our book boxes informally and sporadically as we hear about them through MaxLove Project and word of mouth. From here on forward, CHOC will reach out to ECBC as kids are diagnosed so that we can provide a book box that is curated by age and gender of the patient right after diagnosis — which, as we know personally, is a time when books and reading are not on the forefront of caregivers’ minds but if put right in front of them perhaps will be embraced and provide comfort. A few hours after committing to providing the boxes systemically, we received an email from Child life about a newly diagnosed kid — so we promptly got a box together for a 7-year-old girl and delivered it.

Ethan and I are super excited about the Read+Think+Thrive Box program, and we’re eager to work on ramping it up so that we can more seamlessly assemble and deliver boxes to kids at CHOC. That being said, we need ongoing funding to be able to continue to provide boxes as kids are diagnosed. If you would like to support, click here to learn more about our Read+Think+Thrive Boxes, click on any of the links on that page to donate a book from one of our RTT box wish lists. or click here to fund a single RTT Box or an RTT Box monthly at $100/month (which would cover one new diagnosis each month). 

What a successful Thursday at CHOC!!

the RTT Box that yesterday went to a 7 year old just diagnosed with cancer.

 

 


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A great afternoon at CHOC of books, crafting, and GOLD for pediatric cancer awareness month

Ethan & Choco’s Book Club had a great afternoon last Thursday at CHOC! We spent the first two hours in the hospital lobby for our Super Book Give-Away, where we teamed up with MaxLove Project’s BeSuper Party and hosted a book-inspired craft in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (theme color of gold). We read aloud the classic picture book Where the Wild Things Are, which features main character Max who wears a gold crown and has an imagination that leads him on a wild and brave adventure, reflecting MaxLove Project’s “B” in their BeSuper Action Plan (“Boost yourself with super thoughts”). Patients and SuperSibs crafted their own gold crowns and received their own new copy of the book, and they also selected one to several books to keep from ECBC’s Gifting Library Cart.

We had a ton of fun highlighting gold, reading, and therapeutic crafting with MaxLove!

In the latter part of the afternoon, ECBC’s bedside reading volunteers had a terrific couple of hours on the oncology/neurology floor. They read aloud to many patients (toddlers through 10 year olds), and gave away a good number of books to patients in isolation. A successful afternoon of books and reading — we can’t wait to expand to more days of the week, more volunteers, and more reading reaching more patients. 


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A SUPER Afternoon at CHOC!

ECBC had a great day today at CHOC! On the second floor lobby, we gave away about 70 books at our monthly Super Book Give-Away as part of MaxLove Project’s BeSuper Party and alongside Donovan’s Smile. On the Oncology/Neurology floor our expert Bedside Readers read aloud some great books in patient rooms ranging in age from infant through age 12. And we filled the Outpatient Infusion Center’s shelves with 75 new board books, beginning readers, picture books, and chapter books. So many books into patients’ hands today!! We’re giving away many books regularly and really need book donations!! Click here for the link to our wishlist on amazon, which allows donors to purchase books that will be sent directly to ECBC. 


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THANK YOU, BOOK IT! 2018 PARTICIPANTS!

A HUGE thank you to our AWESOME community for joining us yesterday at ECBC’s inaugural charity run and book drive — BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids! Nearly 500 racers (and nearly 600 people total including volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and supporters) came out to walk, run, fundraise, book-raise, and make our event an amazing success!  The amount of funds raised is not calculated yet, but we can say with certainty that we have a net profit that exceeds our expectations for this first year. The book drive component of the event was also super successful, with the online pre-event book drive resulting in over 75 hardcover book donations and over 45 Read+Think+Thrive book box donations, and the onsite book drive yielding hundreds more new books. What a great boost to our Lending and Gifting libraries at CHOC! Beyond the funds and books raised, many made their mark on the Handprint Wall with their book recommendation for the CHOC library, jumped in the bounce house, used the photo booth, spun the big wheel with Scholastic, met authors and bought signed copies of books, warmed up and ran with CHOCO the bear, enjoyed the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, participated in the book character costume contest, and raced their hearts out. It was so fun to see so many doing all this in their bright yellow “BOOK IT!” shirts sporting “Run Read Thrive” medals!

Thank you to Orange Coast College for providing us with a fantastic location for our event. Thank you to Barry Ackerman, Event Coordinator, who worked tirelessly on all aspects of the event and without whom BOOK IT! would not have been possible. My deepest thank you to our Title Sponsor, children’s author Alane Adams’ Rise Up Foundation, and to all of our sponsors and partners: Children’s Hospital of Orange County, MaxLove Project, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics Orange County Chapter, Orange County Department of Education, Orange County Public Library Foundation, T-shirt sponsor Paris Family Trust, Kids READ!, Pakua Martial Arts, Orange County Children’s Book Festival, Scholastic Books, Erin Denes/Berkshire Hathaway Realtor, Adriene Madden/Magic Tree House, Saddleback Educational Books, and PJ Library. We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of our terrific event partners!

Also thank you to MC Rudy Novotny for providing such an energetic and positive vibe; Master David Clawson  for leading a super fun warm-up; Emily Frye for all your help with design and artwork; Sprouts for providing water and bananas; CR&R for providing trash containers; Kiwanis Club of Irvine for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast; Francie Rosen and Balloons Sound Great for the Entrance Arch; and Brighton Denes for stepping up to sing the National Anthem with no advance warning or time to practice — you are so brave Brighton! Thank you to children’s authors Alane Adams, Sheri Fink, Derek Taylor Kent, Dan Paley, Jennifer Grey Olson, and Suzi Schaffer for joining us with signed copies of your books for the on-site book drive, and thank you to Susie Alexander of Once Upon a Storybook for inviting authors and always supporting our cause and events. And special thanks to Caren Ware and Itz About Time for their expertise in race planning and timing equipment.

Also, this event would not have happened without the great volunteers who came out to help. Thank you to Girl Scout Troop #3115, members of the Irvine Valley College Circle-K, UC Irvine UNICEF Team, Tustin NCL, and Tustin Boys Community Service League. And thank you to friends Kate Dearstyne, Kathleen Marshack, Julie Schulman, and Erin Denes who showed up super early and stayed late  to clean up — your unsolicited help is so appreciated.

And finally, my deepest thank you to the many individuals and families who came out to help make the event such a success! Thank you for promoting on social media, recruiting more participants, and creating teams — a huge shout out to our largest teams: Team Arroyo Elementary School, Equalizers Track Club, Team Shir Ha Mallot, Match Point Tennis Academy, and Team Hewes Middle School. And thank you for sharing your pictures and stories after the event , which plays a powerful role in helping to expand our community of support. I’m so very grateful.

Several have asked if there is the option to do a virtual run if you missed the event. We aren’t offering that this year, but we plan to for next year’s event. You may still support this year’s BOOK IT! via the race registration site by donating a hardcover book or by sponsoring a Read+Think+Thrive Box for new cancer diagnoses at CHOC. Access the donation button at https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/CA/CostaMesa/RunReadThrive.

THANK YOU FOR “BOOKING IT” FOR READING FOR KIDS AT CHOC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. I sincerely hope that our community views ECBC’s cause as their cause too, benefiting the kids of orange county who end up in the hospital. And I hope that this inaugural charity run marks the beginning of an annual event that grows into a significant source of support for a sustainable library and reading program at CHOC. Thank you, AWESOME COMMUNITY, for being here with us from the beginning. See you back next year for BOOK IT! 2019!

To check out the BOOK IT! album of photos, click here
To check out a video of Ethan saying a few words, click here.
To check out the start of our race, click here.                                          


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And Our Inpatient Program has Finally Started!

As of yesterday, ECBC has officially started our inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program at CHOC Children’s Hospital! It has been a long road to get here, but we are THRILLED to be able to finally bring books and reading to patients ON THE FLOORS (ie Oncology floor), not just in the lobby — reading aloud, using high-quality literature and trained “expert” readers, giving away books to patients in isolation via our new Gifting Library Cart, engaging patients in book-inpsired crafting, and getting patients excited to take a break from screentime! THANK YOU to Susie Alexander and Sandy Tweedt for helping to make our launch event so successful; I’m SO grateful to have such AMAZING volunteers! 

Our inaugural charity run is just 3 days away — it’s not too late to sign up! As we start our new program at CHOC, we have many new and ongoing program expenses, so we can use all the support we can get! Please join us and help us bring books and reading, and eventually a lending library, to CHOC Children’s Hospital! Click HERE to register. 


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PLEASE JOIN US AT ECBC’s INAUGURAL CHARITY RUN!

Click here for Ethan’s plug to participate

Please join us at ECBC’s inaugural charity run, BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids. The race is at 8am on May 28th (Memorial Day), and all participants will receive a shirt and a finisher medal. Dress up as your favorite book character for the Book Character Costume Contest!

Register at http://www.runsignup.com/runreadthrive and use code READBOOKS for a 10% discount per registration (discount ends 5/15).