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


Leave a comment

A Productive Day at CHOC

Today ECBC trained a terrific new bedside reader volunteer (Karen Malone Ottoson — so happy to have you on board!); gave away a bunch of new books to toddlers through teens at our Super Book Give-Away alongside MaxLove’s Be Super Party in the CHOC lobby; delivered 125 new books to the Outpatient Infusion Center; conducted bedside reading in oncology and neurology patients’ rooms; and offered patients in isolation books to keep from our mobile Gifting Library Cart. A busy, great day at CHOC for ECBC!

PLEASE help ECBC keep this all this going for Orange County’s hospitalized kids and join us at our 2nd annual charity run — BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids! Race is in 23 days — sign up now!!!

Click HERE to register, donate, and more!


Leave a comment

Thank you Troop #3244 for your amazing “Book Drive & Thrive Party”!

This week, Girl Scout Troop 3244 hosted an AWESOME support event to raise awareness and funds/supplies for ECBC’s Read+Think+Thrive Box program for kids who are diagnosed with cancer. This event, which the troop fully funded and organized, included:

  • A new book drive, with a children’s book off our book box wish list as the admission ticket
  • Stations to create items for our book boxes, such as bookmark decorating and box decorating
  • Stations that celebrate books and reading, including storytime, book inspired food crafting and treat, and a game station.
  • Guest speaker Ethan who was invited to share his story of founding ECBC
  • An ECBC patch for all Girl and Boy Scouts who attend

The girls also did a tremendous amount of preparation for their event, including formulating plans for the event and the activities at each station, making a book donation box, designing a flyer for advertising, making samples and signs decor for each station, distributing flyers to their community, designing and official patch for the event, various pre-event meetings to assign roles and cover all necessary. A tremendous group effort indeed!

The troop’s event resulted in the following donations:

  • 115+ new books from ECBC’s wish lists for our book boxes
  • $110 in donations for art supplies for the book boxes
  • 21 awesomely decorated book boxes
  • 35 laminated youth-made reading themed bookmarks
  • A girl scout/boy scout patch design for future scout events supporting ECBC, plus a donation of 50 patches to ECBC

What an absolutely terrific model this troop created for other girl scouts or philanthropic groups to use to support our book box program! THANK YOU to this terrific troop, and their amazing leader Jill Pang, for your hard work on this the las few months and for choosing ECBC for your Bronze Award project! We so appreciate you, and especially your creativity and inititiative in designing a new way to support our program — which helps our infant charity grow as an organization!

If your group is interested in hosting their own Book Drive & Thrive Party to support our Read+Think+Thrive Box program, please contact us at Ali@ECbookclub.com.


Leave a comment

ECBC’s book box program is finally set up to get boxes to EVERY new cancer diagnosis at CHOC!

While ECBC has been delivering Read+Think+Thrive (RTT) boxes to kids newly diagnosed with cancer at CHOC for some time, these deliveries have occurred sporadically and informally when ECBC happens to hear about a new diagnosis through other cancer nonprofits, others in the cancer community, or friends and community people who ask for a box for someone they know/love. Up until now, we have had a difficult time securing a point person at the hospital to communicate new diagnoses and deliver boxes — so it has been impossible for us to reach all patients, or even most of them. We now finally have an awesome CHOC staff from the Child Life Department who is excited to help us make this program a success at CHOC. With these first two boxes (both delivered to teenagers), ECBC will now learn about every child diagnosed with cancer at CHOC, from infant through teen and young adult, and we will aim to promptly deliver the boxes to the hospital while the child is still inpatient for his/her initial hospital stay. This is easier said than done, as there are numerous challenges that we are confronted with (e.g., there is currently no space for on-site storage of these boxes, so we will need to keep boxes offsite and deliver them individually as each diagnosis happens) — but we are so excited to get this program going more formally and reach more patients – so that every patient diagnosed with cancer has a fantastic mini-library of new, high-quality books to read!

Now that we will be receiving box requests more regularly and frequently, we could really use more help from kids in the community with these two creative tasks: (1) decorating the book boxes, and (2) completing a Thrive Buddy response (a great way for kids to boost their summer reading). If your child or youth group is interested in helping with either of these, or in supporting our RTT Box program in a larger way, please email ECBC at ali@ECbookclub.com.

Or, if you want to help fund our book box program with a monetary donation, an easy way to do it is through our charity run website. Registrations are now open for BOOK IT #2 (Sept 8, 2019), and/or you can donate $100 to fund a box for a new cancer diagnosis. CLICK HERE to access the site — It’s super easy!


Leave a comment

It has been a Full Year of Bedside Reading at CHOC Children’s!

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of ECBC”s bedside reading and mobile book cart program at CHOC Children’s Hospital! Before we launched our inpatient program on May 24, 2018, it was rare to see a book or reading happening on a patient floor. Now, patients are regularly being read high-quality literature, and patients in isolation, who are not able to access available books in the hospital lobby, are able to choose books to keep from our mobile book cart. While the year 1 data have not yet been analyzed, our bedside reader volunteers report that, generally speaking, the patients are giving more “yes”s to reading than “no'”s, they are engaged during read-alouds, and they are asking volunteers to stay longer and read more. Which is so much better than we expected when we launched this program (especially knowing that reading can be a hard sell against technology). We can’t wait to formally analyze data from our first year and share the results!

A huge thank you to the most awesome bedside reading team I can imagine. We have an awesome group of current and former educators, librarians, school psychologists, and reading specialists — and they are a large reason why we are getting such a terrific response from the children! I’m so grateful for this team!

As we head into year 2, we will be working on growing this program so that we can offer reading aloud to patients on more hospital floors and more days of the week, with the ultimate goal to be able to offer every available patient a read aloud every day of the week (which is consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of at least 15 minutes a day of reading). We will be looking to recruit new volunteers, particularly those with prior experience in education/literacy — please email at Ali@ECbookclub.com if you are interested in learning more about becoming a bedside reader.


Leave a comment

An Awesome Girl Scout Silver Award Project…and Successful Mini Book Box Packaging Day!

A HUGE thank you to 7th graders Morgan, Sam, and Delaney for choosing to support ECBC’s Read+Think+Thrive (RTT) Box program for their Girl Scout Silver Award project!

Theses three girls, who are part of Girl Scout Troop #2908, fundraised, book-raised, and contributed many hours to be able to fund and assemble fifteen RTT Boxes for middle school-aged kids at CHOC Children’s Hospital who are diagnosed with cancer (10 girl boxes, 5 boy boxes). 

In the months leading up to their packaging day, the girls worked super hard. They set up their own online book drive to collect needed titles for middle school boxes. They made a promotional video, shared it on social media, linked it to their own Amazon wish list of books, and collected and kept track of book titles that were sent to them. They also fundraised and raised $900 to go towards purchasing books as well as the art supplies that go in each box. In addition, they (1)  beautifully decorated eight sides and flaps of each of 15 boxes with ECBC-themed quotes and artwork; (2) completed Thrive Buddy responses by creatively responding to a book in each box to help motivate box recipients to participate in Ethan’s Read+Think+Thrive Challenge; and (3) designed and made their own reading-themed laminated bookmarks to add in each box as gifts specifically from them. 

This week, after months of hard work (and surpassing the Mini Box Packaging Day requirement of providing funds/materials for at least 10 boxes), the girls gathered to pack the15 boxes they funded. In two hours, they assembled and taped the boxes; added bookplates to books with donor names; wrote personalized “Care Cards” with notes to recipients and packaged the cards in baggies with two ECBC Book Bands; assembled packets of ECBC promotional materials; and packed all 15 boxes with the variety of items they collected and created. Reading lights were added as well — Thanks to Max Stahl for funding these as part of his 8th grade community service project! After the two hours were done, 15 beautifully decorated boxes filled with high-quality books and a variety of other reading-related treats were ready to go! THANK YOU Morgan, Sam, and Delaney for your initiative, creativity, hard work, and commitment to this project —- we appreciate your support so much!

Click HERE to check out Ethan’s 20 second time-lapse video of 2/3 of the 2 hour box packaging session!

Time-lapse video of some the girls’ packaging sessions!

We’re excited to now have a great supply of middle school boxes ready to go! We need an equal number of boxes for all other age groups (infant/toddler, preschool, early elementary, upper elementary, high school). If there’s a youth or philanthropic group out there who’s interested in working on a mini-packaging day for your group (minimum requirement is to fundraise and/or book-raise to cover 10 boxes — about $1000), please get in touch by emailing Ali@ECbookclub.com! 


Leave a comment

Girl Scout Troop #3115 Engages in Some Fantastic Awareness Raising for ECBC!

Last Sunday, Girl Scout Troop #3115 participated in the 2019 Girl Scout Day of Service at Foothill High School. With more than 600 Girl Scouts and 200 adults in attendance, the girls spent the afternoon sharing with others ECBC’s cause and ways they can help support. They focused on our book box program (“Read+Think+Thrive Boxes) for kids newly diagnosed with cancer, as they have been focused on helping ECBC build this specific program for over three years. Using terrific visuals that they made, the girls shared information about what a book box is; how other youth can become a “Thrive Buddy” by responding to a creative reading prompt that gets included in a box, and how ECBC’s “Book Band” reading incentive program works at the hospital. They also came up with the idea to package ECBC’s Book Bands for the book boxes into baggies with personalized “Care Cards” — and they made this an activity for other scouts to participate in while visiting their booth. Finally, they distributed flyers about two upcoming events — our second annual BOOK IT! on September 8th (click here to register) and Girl Scout Troop #3244’s Book Drive and Thrive Party on June 8th (click here to learn more and register).

We are so grateful to Troop #3115’s longstanding commitment to ECBC — these girls (and their troop leaders) have been truly awesome partners!


Leave a comment

Thank You to Two Tustin Elementary Schools

A huge thank you to Loma Vista Elementary School and Myford Elementary School for the your awesome book donations last week. Both schools conducted school-wide book drives alongside existing book purchasing programs. Organized by Loma Vista parent Beth Feher, Loma Vista conducted a book drive at their school’s Scholastic Book Fair and as part of their Read Across America celebrations. With the amazing help of first grader Jayden Salazar, Loma Vista collected and donated 260 new books to ECBC — returning our book donation box completely full! (not a small accomplishment –the box is huge!).

And, spearheaded by kindergarten teacher Danielle Clawson, Myford collected book donations via students’ Scholastic Book Club orders, where parents were given the opportunity to purchase additional books to donate to ECBC as part of their child’s book order. Thank you Danielle and Myford for the 80 books that you donated as a result of this book drive, and also for your ongoing support of ECBC through Scholastic Book Club orders.

School book drives are the largest source of ECBC’s gifting library. Since 100% of our gifting library books are given away (to kids in isolation at CHOC, at hospital book-give away events, in book boxes for new cancer diagnoses), ECBC depends on the support of local schools to sustain our gifting book programs. If your school is interested in collecting new books for ECBC, please contact us at ali@ECbookclub.com

THANK YOU LOMA VISTA ELEMENTARY AND MYFORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!


Leave a comment

A Successful Morning at PCRF’s Reaching for the Cure!

We had so much fun at Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation’s Reaching for the Cure race this morning. What a terrific event for such an important cause. It was really amazing to see so many people at one event all supporting pediatric cancer– MANY running for family or friends or even themselves who are currently battling cancer, survived cancer, or are no longer here. Ethan did a great job managing the spin wheel and giving out books and prizes while also sharing the mission of ECBC and spreading the word about BOOK IT! #2 (which will be on September 8th, 2019). A big thanks to Barry Ackerman/KIDS READ! for helping with our booth and providing gently used books to hand out to kids!

Ethan and I enjoyed walking the 5K as well, and we were especially thrilled when we realized that the event’s AWESOMELY ENERGETIC MC Andrea Kooiman is who we just hired to MC at BOOK IT 2019!!!


Leave a comment

Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) delivery

Keeping these shelves stocked with books at CHOC Children’s Hospital OPI is fun!  These shelves were always empty for the 3.5 that Ethan received his outpatient chemo here! Nothing fancy and the easiest part of ECBC to keep going , but it’s just as rewarding as the other programs we do. Every time we return the shelves are empty — it’s good to know that at least a small part of kids’ visits might include some reading instead of screen time!!