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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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!


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Outpatient Oncology Delivery Day!

Re-stocking day at CHOC Children’s Hospital oncology clinic and Outpatient Infusion Center(OPI). A few hundred high quality books so kids of all ages infants through teens can be offered a book whenever they visit outpatient oncolgoy whether it be for a routine visit of chemo at OPI. We also had the pleasure of delivering this specially curated bag of books for a middle school patient who inspired his buddies to conduct a school-wide book drive –the personal deliveries that are base don kids’ actual reading interest are always so fun!


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HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM Ethan & Choco’s Book Club!

2020 was hard all around, including for tiny nonprofits like ECBC. When Covid hit in March, we had to stop all our inpatient volunteer-based reading activities, which are the backbone of ECBC programming and relatively low cost. We weren’t able to hold our in-person BOOK IT charity run, which is ECBC’s only formal fundraiser of the year. And, our ongoing large book donations have completely stopped due to the lack of onsite school book fairs and other in-person group events.  That being said, 2020 was an opportunity for ECBC to grow in other ways, including by: 

  • Forming our initial Board of Directors comprised of 8 amazing board members, and having our first two Board meetings in July and November. 
  • Filing taxes for the first time, with 2019 being our first year as an approved 501(c)3 public-benefit corporation.
  • Hosting a fully virtual BOOK IT fundraising campaign, which helped to expand our community of supporters and raised enough funds for ECBC to resume some of our covid-modified programs upon hospital approval. 
  • Converting our book box program to book bags per new infectious disease requirements (concerns about cardboard); having our first “mega bag packaging day” and finally having bulk inventory for delivery (thank you to local girl scouts), and as of September putting in place systematic delivery of Read Think Thrive Bags (which contain a mini library of 10 high-quality books curated by age and gender of the recipient) to every new oncology diagnosis at CHOC Children’s Hospital. 
  • Launching a new outpatient oncology book gifting program and library cart, which involves offering high-quality age-appropriate books to all kids entering CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center.  Per covid-based restrictions on the inpatient side, this shift to book gifting through outpatient has led to a new and terrific partnership with outpatient oncology staff.
  • Gifting significant numbers of wonderful holiday-themed books on Halloween and for the December holidays — to CHOC inpatients, outpatients, and patients and siblings living at Miracle Manor. 

Going forward in 2021, ECBC hopes to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by: 

  1. Sustaining our ongoing outpatient gifting library cart and our Read Think Thrive Bags for new cancer diagnoses
  2. Expanding our outpatient book gifting to the CHOC oncology clinic, so that every child that visits the clinic will be also offered a book (not just those visiting the infusion center). 
  3. Formally launching Teens Thrive Reading Group, our new virtual book club for teen cancer patients and survivors that gifts Kindles and monthly e-books to participants. We will be recruiting participants from CHOC’s AYA (adolescent and young adult) group, and we will also work on online methods to recruit outside of CHOC teen cancer warriors who might be interested in participating. 
  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. Resuming and growing our inpatient reading programs as soon as our volunteers are allowed to enter the hospital again. Pre-covid, we were preparing to expand to more days per week, more patient floors, and our first bit of physical patient-use space to build a reading nook. As covid restrictions are lifted, we will be eager to return to growing our impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays with rich literature-based reading programs.

A HUGE thank you to our amazing community for supporting ECBC during this especially difficult time — every monetary donation, book donation, and social media shout-out has mattered and we are deeply grateful. To start off 2021 with a monetary donation, please CLICK HERE. To donate a book off our wish list, CLICK HERE.

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


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Finally, a book bag delivery!

All ECBC program’s have been on hold for the past two months per CHOC Children’s Hospital’s COVID-19 rules, as all of our programs require our volunteers to visit the hospital. We all miss being able to get high-quality books and reading to patients, especially to the kids who are enduring long and/or hard battles. So, Ethan and I were thrilled yesterday when we had the opportunity to hand off a Read+Think+Thrive Bag to Ethan’s oncologist at CHOC so that she could deliver it to an eight-year-old girl who was just diagnosed with cancer. Not the usual way we receive book bag requests (the request came from Ethan’s oncologist during his own Zoom oncology visit) and not our typical delivery method (the hand-off happened in the CHOC parking lot outside the entrance to the oncology clinic, rather than by volunteer delivery inside the hospital)… but it felt so good to be able to give the the gift of reading to this young girl. We have so missed doing this!

As an aside, note our use of a “book bag” rather than “book box”. This is the first time that Read+Think+Thrive supplies (books and book-crafting items) were packaged in a bag! A few months ago, CHOC’s Infectious Disease department informed us that we could no longer use cardboard boxes, so we are now transitioning to a “Read+Think+Thrive Bag” rather than box. We will miss the kid/largely Girl Scout- decorated boxes, but we are super excited about this bag — which is more functional (kids can actually re-use it) and can provide a tangible reminder for kids to bring books with them to their hospital visits. We think they look pretty great too! (Thanks to Emily Frye!)