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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Happy New Year from Ethan & Choco’s Book Club!

2022 was productive and impactful for ECBC! We finally returned to pre-Covid levels of programming, and we far surpassed prior years’ book gifting levels — giving away 400-500 new books per month between our outpatient and inpatient gifting libraries. At the end of 2021 we were given the green light to resume our inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program (which had been on halt since the start of Covid), and in 2022 we were given an additional day, so our bedside readers are now reading and gifting books in patient rooms two days per week. Our amazing group of volunteer bedside readers is growing (now at 14) — passionate about kids’ literacy/literature, they provide high-quality interactive read -alouds for patients of all ages that are also often kids’ only non-medical related conversations of the day. We gave a Read Think Thrive Bag to every child at CHOC as they were diagnosed with cancer — which was a hefty commitment this year given that the cancer diagnosis rate was the highest in the history of the hospital (we gifted 10-15 book bags per month, valued at $150 per bag). We continued to give away large numbers of holiday-themed books for various holidays, and we enjoyed returning to Miracle Manor (Miracles for Kids’ subsidized housing for CHOC families) to provide Christmas storytime for patients and siblings. And, we continued to provide free Kindles and Kindle books for teen and young adult cancer patients in our virtual book club, with book selections and discussion curated by ECBC co-founder Ethan. Despite not being able to hold our in-person annual fundraiser for a third consecutive year, we raised enough funds via our virtual BOOK IT to sustain our programming (though not enough to grow in order to meet increasing demands and costs). THANK YOU to our amazing community for supporting ECBC — every monetary donation, book donation, book drive, and social medial shout-out has mattered and allows ECBC to keep on going. And a special thank you to ECBC’s Board of Directors — Susie Alexander, Sandy Tweedy, Craig Bryson, Fenny Kokenge, Mary Kay Viscounty, Anne Case, and Dr. Van Huynh — I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contributions of each of you.

Going forward in 2023, ECBC plans to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:

  1. Growing our inpatient reading program to more expert reader volunteers, more days per week, more patient floors, and greater impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays. We hope to move closer to our ultimate goal of offering reading to patients daily, consistent with decades of research that shows the benefits of reading aloud at least fifteen minutes per day.
  2. Sustaining our high levels of book donations across our various book gifting programs — including our gifting libraries at CHOC’s Oncology Clinic and Outpateint Infusion Center so that every child visiting the clinic or OPI can select a high-quality book to keep; our holiday book gifting such as BOO-ks for Treats on Halloween and our December holiday book gifting; our book gifting to patients in isolation via our mobile library cart; and our Read Think Thrive (RTT) Bags for patients as they are diagnsoed with cancer. We hope to someday be able to exapnd beyond CHOC to provide our RTT Bags to additional kids who are diagnosed with cancer — though this is likely a more distant goal given the significant additional funds and storage space that would be required for more inventory.
  3. Recruiting more teens and young adults to join Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), our virtual book club for teen cancer warriors that includes gifting Kindles and monthly Kindle books to participants. As this is a virtual program that is not hospital or storage space dependent, we hope to expand TTRG beyond CHOC to include oncology teens from around the country. 
  4. Expanding our impact by providing parents with resources to help them optimally support their kids’ cognitive health through treatment with books and reading. The hope is that this can include online methods as well as eventual in-person group sessions with parents during hospital stays.
  5. Bringing our annual fundraiser (BOOK IT!) back to an in-person run/walk and book drive! This is risky for our tiny nonprofit given the significant upfront costs of hosting an in-person event; however, we need to raise more funds than we can virtually. We are currently seeking event sponsors at all levels — email ali@ecbookclub.com if interested. Please save the date — Labor Day, Monday September 4 2023!
  6. Obtaining office/storage space! We have spent the past 6+ years with a small offsite storage unit and using our founder’s house as the main source of our storage. As we grow our organization, we are in great need of a single space for storage and our volunteer activities (like filling the canvas bags for new diagnoses or sorting and stamping the hundreds of books that we gift each month). As we have a very limited budget, we are looking for an ECBC benefactor who could support us with donating space or finances that would allow us to get a space. We’re hopeful that we can make this happen in 2023!

To start off 2023 with a one-time or recurring monetary donation, please CLICK HERE.

Thank you for helping ECBC help Orange County’s hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!


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If You’re Looking to Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Before the End of 2022…

If you haven’t donated to Ethan & Choco’s Book Club yet this year and are looking to make an end-of-year gift  before January 1, you can still do so now! CHOC Children’s is beyond full capacity with playrooms and other social spaces converted to patient rooms; cancer diagnoses are at an all-time high for the hospital; and most of ECBC’s programs have returned to or surpassed their pre-Covid levels of operation — so donations are greatly needed to meet the significant demand. All donations will go directly towards helping hospitalized kids (especially kids battling cancer and other life-altering conditions) thrive through treatment with high-quality books and read-aloud experiences. For example, a $20 donation may buy a book for a child who is inpatient on the oncology floor; a $150 donation may provide a book bag containing a mini-library of age and gender appropriate literature for a child just recently diagnosed with cancer; and a $250 donation may provide a Kindle and monthly Kindle books for a teenage oncology warrior. All donations are tax-deductible, and donors are acknowledged on the items they fund. You can CLICK HERE to donate: Please email Ali@ECbookclub.com for a donation receipt.


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Outpatient Holiday Book Delivery!

Today, we delivered a TON (288, to be exact) of new December holiday-themed books to our mini-libraries at CHOC Children’s Outpatient Infusion (OPI) Center and CHOC’s Oncology Clinic! This allows all patients who visit the oncology clinic or OPI in the next few weeks to pick out a terrific holiday book — with choices ranging from lift-the-flap board books to Christmas- and other-holiday themed picture books to holiday-themed graphic novels, joke books, and chapter books for middle graders and teens/ young adults. We also re-stocked our inventory of Read Think Thrive Bags for kids who are diagnosed with cancer.

We are STILL in need of more holiday-themed books to be able to offer them to kids on the oncology and neurology floor on the inpatient side in the coming weeks! If you would like to donate a book, please CLICK HERE to access our amazon wish list. All books will be sent directly to ECBC, and bookplates will be added with donor names.

THANK YOU for helping hospitalized kids thrive through the holidays with books and reading!


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Storytime at Tiddlywinks!

We had so much fun this morning at Tiddlywinks in the Orange Circle, where Ethan led a storytime along with The Potting Shed owner Jack! Thank you to the kiddos (and their parents and grandparents) who attended, and THANK YOU to Tiddlywinks owner Jeannie for inviting Ethan to read. Tiddlywinks is hosting a book drive for ECBC for the month of August, so if you’re in the area, please consider stopping by this wonderful toy (+book) store to purchase a children’s book to donate!


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Today Was Re-Stocking Day!

Today we re-stocked our mini-libraries at CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) and CHOC’s Oncology Clinic. 215 new, high-quality books for patients of all ages were delivered, so that patients can select a book to read when they visit for a chemo infusion or other oncology care. Also, we brought sixteen more Read Think Thrive Bags which are delivered to kids as they are diagnosed with cancer (valued at ~$150 per bag) — which means many new diagnoses the past few weeks. Since these bags contain enough books to take kids through the initial months of diagnosis (+ art supplies and a “Read Think Thrive Challenge” from Ethan), we are grateful that ECBC can support kids’ cognitive health and thrivership during a time where this critical aspect of their development is so often neglected.

If you’d like to help ECBC sustain these book gifting programs, you can:

  • Visit Arvida Book Co in Old Towne Tustin to purhcase a book to donate (they have a box for donations)
  • Purchase a book from ECBC’s wish list on Amazon. All books purchased from this list will be sent directly to ECBC and bookplated with donor name: CLICK HERE.
  • Make a monetary donation that will go directly toward purchasing needed books for patients at CHOC Children’s Hospital (mostly oncology and neurology patients, as well as others battling life-altering illness). CLICK HERE.

THANK YOU for helping ECBC help hospitalized kids to thrive with the help of books and reading!


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Re-Stocking Day at CHOC Outpatient Oncology Clinic and OPI

Today we re-stocked our mini libraries at CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center and the Oncology Clinic — 310 new books for infants through young adults.

We rarely get to see the recipients of the books on the outpatient side of the hospital, so we really appreciate it when we receive pictures like this. This awesome Leukemia warrior William’s favorite part about visiting OPI is to receive a book at each visit. Keeping reading and thriving through treatment William!

To donate a book for our inpatient and outpatient book gifting at CHOC, please CLICK HERE. All books donated will be bookplated with donor name.


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Happy New Year from Ethan & Choco’s Book Club!

Despite the continued challenges of these extraordinary times, including not being able to have our annual in-person fundraiser for a second year, we were able to support ECBC’s mission in many ways in 2021.  We built our oncology outpatient book gifting programs to be stronger than ever, giving away 200-300 books per month. We finally figured out how to successfully give a Read Think Thrive Bag to every child at CHOC as they are diagnosed with cancer — which amounted to 180 new diagnoses and bags delivered in 2021 (valued at $120-$150/bag). We continued to give away holiday-themed books for Halloween and December-themed holidays, although book delivery still looked different per Covid-altered protocol. Additionally, we launched our new virtual book club for teen cancer patients and survivors, with book selections and discussion curated by ECBC co-founder Ethan. AND, the best news of all is that we were one of few volunteer programs to be given the green light to resume our inpatient volunteer-dependent bedside reading and mobile book cart program as of this past October. It has been so great to be back reading aloud and book talking with the kids at CHOC!

Going forward in 2022, ECBC plans to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:

  1. Re-building and growing our inpatient reading programs to more expert reader volunteers, more days per week, more patient floors, and greater impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays. 
  2. Sustaining our various book gifting programs — including our Read Think Thrive Bags for patients as they are diagnosed with cancer; our gifting libraries at CHOC’s Oncology Clinic and the Outpatient Infusion Center so that every child visiting the clinic or OPI can select a high-quality book to keep; and our holiday book gifting such as BOO-ks for Treats at Halloween and our December holiday book gifting.
  3. Recruiting more teens and young adults to join Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), our new virtual book club for teen cancer warriors that includes gifting Kindles and monthly Kindle books to participants. As this is a virtual program that is not hospital dependent, we are hoping to expand TTRG beyond CHOC to include oncology teens from around the country. 
  4. Developing ways to provide parents with information and resources to help them optimally support their kids’ cognitive health and thrivership through treatment with books and reading. The hope is that this can include online methods as well as eventual in-person group sessions with parents during hospital stays.
  5. Bringing our annual fundraiser (BOOK IT!) back to an in-person charity run/walk and book drive! Our fingers are crossed hard that we can host our onsite event this year — which raises the majority of the funds that we need to run our programs. Please save the date — Labor Day, Monday September 5 2022!

Thank you to our awesome bedside readers who are back at it despite the challenges that come with visiting a children’s hospital in the middle of a pandemic. And a special thank you to ECBC’s Board of Directors — I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contributions of each of you. And a HUGE thank you to our amazing community for supporting ECBC during this especially difficult time — every monetary donation, book donation, book drive, and social media shout-out has mattered and we are deeply grateful.

To start off 2022 with a one-time or recurring monetary donation, please CLICK HERE.

To donate a book from our wish list, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for helping ECBC help Orange County’s hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!


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If you’re looking to make a donation before the end of 2021…

If you haven’t donated to Ethan & Choco’s Book Club yet this year and are looking to make an end-of-year gift  before January 1, you can still do so now! Most of ECBC’s programs have returned do their pre-Covid levels of operation, and all donations will go directly towards helping hospitalized kids (especially kids battling cancer and other life-altering conditions) thrive through treatment with high-quality books and read-aloud experiences. For example, it may buy a book for a child who is inpatient on the oncology floor; or it may provide a book bag containing a mini-library of age and gender appropriate literature for a child just recently diagnosed with cancer; or it may fund a Kindle and Kindle books for a teenage oncology warrior. All donations are tax-dedictible, and donors are acknowledged on the items they fund. You can CLICK HERE to donate: Please email Ali@ECbookclub.com for a donation receipt. #endofyeargift #ECBC #readthinkthrive #thriveagainstcancer #cognitivehealth


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The Beginning of Holiday Book Gifting!

With the start of December, ECBC began our holiday-themed book gifting to kids who are on the inpatient side of the hospital at CHOC. ECBC volunteers are wheeling around our gifting library cart (see below) to offer patients age-appropriate Christmas and other December holiday themed books — from Christmas-themed board books, picture books, joke books and graphic novels to contemporary holiday-themed fiction for teens and young adults. Since our volunteers were not allowed in the hospital last year due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t able to personally deliver any books to kids on the inpatient side. It’s so wonderful to be back to offering the kids choice and variety, which let’s them select based on their needs and interests!

We have enough holiday books to get us through this week, but we still need many more (for all book types and ages) to get us through the month and to also to give to kids who visit Outpatient Oncology, the Outpatient Infusion Center, and kids living at Miracle Manor (Miracles for Kids’ subsidized housing for CHOC families). To donate, please visit our December holiday wish list on Amazon by CLICKING HERE. You can also donate a new holiday book by visiting Arvida Book Co in Tustin and buying a book to put in their donation box.

THANK YOU for helping ECBC to help hospitalized kids thrive through the holidays with books and reading!


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Getting Ready to Return to CHOC…

ECBC Bedside Reader “re-group & re-train” (group 1) in preparation for our return to our inpatient program at CHOC next week! I am so grateful for our group of educators, librarians, and reading specialists who provide high quality read-aloud for the hospitalized kids who need it most! We are super excited to be back at CHOC next week!