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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ECBC Is Back At CHOC!

WOOHOO! I am so excited about today’s delivery to CHOC Children’s Hospital and ECBC’s re-launching of several of our book/reading programs after a six month hiatus (since all of our programs have been on hold because they have depended on volunteers). Now, thanks to CHOC’s awesome outpatient oncology nurse manager Ali Langdon and staff who are willing to store, manage, and deliver books for us, we can get books into patients’ hands in Covid-safe ways! Today, we dropped off the first installment of our Read Think Thrive Book Bags to be given to kids as they are diagnosed with cancer This is the first time we’ve been able to store these bags on site, and so it will be the first time we will actually be able to get the bags to all kids as they are diagnosed (a Covid-inspired improvement!). Additionally, today we also delivered supplies to start offering a brand new program for teen cancer warriors and survivors — a virtual book club (called Teens Thrive Reading Group and curated by ECBC now-teen co-founder Ethan) that includes gifting teens who want to participate with a new Kindle and monthly e-books. We can’t wait to grow this club into a safe space for teens to share their thoughts about both literary and personal stories! Finally, we created and delivered our new CHOC Oncology Outpatient Library (COOL) Cart filled with 250 curated books organized by book type, to be wheeled to patients’ rooms (oncology patients and kids with other chronic illnesses) while they are receiving infusions at CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI). In the past, ECBC’s book deliveries to OPI went on open shelves for patients to grab. With this new Covid-safe method, nurses will offer books personally to every patient/caregiver, encouraging them to take a break from screens and other activities to do a bit of reading/reading aloud.

Which gets me to the 29th (of 30) way that ECBC has helped hospitalized kids thrive — through providing books to kids at their OPI visits — now in a way that is much more personal and will result in significantly more books being gifted than before (there are 150 patient visits to OPI per week!). If you haven’t yet supported BOOK IT (which ends tomorrow) and would like to donate to help fund and sustain the OPI book cart, please go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020: $10 provides one book for the cart, $50 provides five books, $1000 provides one shelf of books; and $2500 re-stocks the entire cart (which will last approximately 1-3 weeks). We need your help more than ever, especially since we are not receiving any help from school book fairs and book drives which typically have provided most of our gifting library books! THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT, ECBC’s new and re-launched programs, and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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BOOK IT 2020 Final Countdown: 3 DAYS LEFT TO GO!

We are super excited about the 28th way that ECBC helps kids to thrive through cancer, which is through a NEW PROGRAM specifically for teens and young adults who are currently battling cancer or are cancer survivors. The program is a virtual book club, called Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), and it is fully virtual so it is accessible to CHOC teens who are both inpatient and outpatient as well as non-CHOC cancer warriors. Interested teens will receive an invitation to TTRG along with the “new member book”, which is a super cool collection of diverse short stories written by popular teen authors. Once they read at least two of the stories (low bar to encourage participation) and respond to a prompt in the virtual space, teens will then receive a Kindle and a link to the first e-book. As long as they participate (aka comment in the book club), they will keep getting e-books (fully funded by ECBC). The hope is to connect teen cancer warriors about great literary stories and personal cancer battle stories in a space that is thought-provoking, positive, and safe. Invitations and the new member book will be available to teens at CHOC starting tomorrow (September 29th), and soon there will be a way to request participation through our website as well. 

If you haven’t yet supported this year’s virtual BOOK IT, today is the third to last day to do so! Go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020 to donate. To support TTRG specifically, $100 covers the cost of a Kindle for a teen, and $250 sponsors a cancer teen for one year of participation in TTRG (Kindle and monthly e-books). THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT, ECBC’s new teen program, and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! #BOOKIT2020


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BOOK IT 2020 Final Countdown: 4 DAYS TO GO!

The 27th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is more of a “future way” that we hope to grow into — which is to help provide parents with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to support their kids’ reading and cognitive health while in the hospital and through life-altering treatment. Until now, this has largely been through our bedside readers modeling for parents the importance of reading aloud as part of kids’ treatment, the types of books to choose, and how to read aloud in engaging ways that support them cognitive and emotionally. During their reading sessions, bedside readers have also had informal conversations with parents about these things. The hope for 2021/when our volunteers can return to CHOC in person is to host regular “Parents as Literacy Partners” workshops, which will be mini science-based seminar+discussion style sessions with guidance, practical tips, and materials for parents to use with their kids. We hope these will empower parents to make books and reading part of their daily hospital and home treatment plan! For now, ECBC has a “parent tips” pamphlet available to parents at CHOC (soon to be accessible on our website), which is our first go at starting this conversation more formally with parents. We are excited to expand from this into parent workshops as soon as we can!

If you haven’t yet supported BOOK IT 2020, please consider donating at a level that represents how you might have participated if we were in-person this year: cost of your registration to run ($40), cost of your family to run ($160 for family of four), online book drive donation (an additional $20 for a hardcover lending library book or $125 for a book bag for a new cancer diagnosis at CHOC).To donate, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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BOOK IT 2020 Final Countdown: 5 DAYS TO GO!

For today, September 26th, the 26th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by bringing December holiday themed books and reading to patients who are stuck in the hospital during the holiday season. For example, ECBC’s bedside readers have read patients fantastic holiday themed literature representing celebrations from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Also, ECBC has gifted high-quality holiday-themed literature for infants through teens who are (a) on patient floors through our mobile book cart; (b) attend MaxLove Project’s December holiday party in the hospital lobby; (c) receiving infusions at the Outpatient Infusion Center; (d) visiting the hospital’s Prayer Center; and (e) who live at Miracle Manor, Miracles for Kids’ subsidized housing for CHOC families. This amounts to a ton of books — approximately 500 (~$5000) — none of which are likely to come from school book fairs this year as they usually do. 

There are so many wonderful holiday stories written for kids of all ages, with terrific messages that are springboards for good discussion. It is really awesome to be able to gift these to patients especially when it is unlikely that most would otherwise get them.  To support BOOK IT and help fund ECBC’s December holiday needs, go to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. $20 will fund a new hardcover holiday-themed bedside reading book, $100 will provide ten holiday books for the gifting library, and $500 will contribute fifty holiday books to the mobile book cart, prayer center, or Outpatient Infusion Center. THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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BOOK IT 2020 Final Countdown: 6 DAYS TO GO! Day #25.

BOOK IT 2020 Final Countdown: 6 DAYS TO GO!

ECBC is now in the final week of the BOOK IT 2020 virtual book drive — our online effort to fundraise and bookraise since we couldn’t have our onsite charity run this year. We are currently 2/3 the way to our fundraising goal — Please help ECBC keep going until BOOK IT 2021— next September! Hospitalized kids need books now more than ever, and we’re about to re-start some of our programs at CHOC in covid-modified ways.

To wrap up BOOK IT 2020 as well as honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, each day of September I have been sharing a way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids to thrive with books and reading. For today, September 25th, the 25th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by delivering special gifts for special situations — such as special requests made by hospitalized kids for a particular book crafting item (i.e., a blank book or blank comic book); a special treatment milestone that ECBC learns about that merits a treat; or a special circumstance (i,e., such as a relapse or bone marrow transplant recovery) that deserves some literary cheer. It has truly been one of my greatest joys in running ECBC to be able to gift literacy-supporting items in these kinds of situations, and to be able to send love and support with more opportunities to read and create. Just check out the pic below of brain cancer warrior Trenton’s expression after receiving Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods Anthology after his recent port removal!

Please help!  If you haven’t yet supported BOOK IT 2020, please consider donating at a level that represents how you might have participated if we were in-person this year: cost of your registration to run ($40), cost of your family to run ($160 for family of four), online book drive donation (an additional $20 for a hardcover lending library book or $125 for a book bag for a new cancer diagnosis at CHOC).To donate, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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BOOK IT 2020 FINAL COUNTDOWN: 7 DAYS TO GO!

ECBC is now in the final week of the BOOK IT 2020 virtual book drive — our online effort to fundraise and bookraise since we couldn’t have our onsite charity run this year. We are currently 2/3 the way to our fundraising goal — Please help ECBC keep going until BOOK IT 2021— next September! Hospitalized kids need books now more than ever, and we’re about to re-start some of our programs at CHOC in covid-modified ways. 

To wrap up BOOK IT 2020 as well as honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, each day of September I have been sharing a way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids to thrive with books and reading.  I will finish off the last week of BOOK IT with seven more days of thrive ways. For today, September 24th, the 24th way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by offering high-quality nonfiction/informational text for patients of all ages. Nonfiction/informational text is so important for kids to read for many reasons, including because it helps build world knowledge, it can be matched to kids’ interests and hence facilitate positive attitudes about reading, it comprises the majority of reading that kids do across academic content areas and in “real life” so kids need to learn comprehension skills for success with informational text (which are different than narrative/stories).ECBC makes a hard effort, across all of our programs, to make sure that patients get some access to the nonfiction/informational books. However, we currently have very few informational texts. Please help!

If you haven’t yet supported BOOK IT 2020, please consider donating at a level that represents how you might have participated if we were in-person this year: cost of your registration to run ($40), cost of your family to run ($160 for family of four), online book drive donation (an additional $20 for a hardcover lending library book or $125 for a book bag for a new cancer diagnosis at CHOC).To donate, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. To donate a nonfiction book directly, go to ECBC’s BOOK IT Amazon wish list (CLICK HERE) and use keyword “nonfiction” in the search box to locate books. All books purchased from this list will be sent directly to ECBC. #BOOKIT2020 #nonfiction #infotext #books4choc #thriveagainstcancer #childhoodcancerawarenessmonth 


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #23 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 23. The twenty-third way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by making sure that the literacy needs are met of the youngest patients. ECBC does this by making sure that our bedside reading program as well as all of our gifting programs/events provide the types of books that are most developmentally appropriate for the 0-3 year old age group. This includes sturdy board books with colorful pictures and fun sounds, rhyming, repetition, interactive features (flaps, touch/feel), and familiar objects/faces. High-quality board books with these characteristics are most likely to engage, invite participation, stimulate the senses, and facilitate bonding and positive attitudes about books. Like graphic novels, ECBC is always needing board books because they go super fast. Also, they tend to be in high demand at CHOC beyond just with infants/toddlers, particularly because patients who have developmental delays or neurocognitive challenges often prefer or need these types of books. 

To support BOOK IT and help fund board books for hospitalized kids at CHOC, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. $20 provides two board books, $100 ten board books, and $500 re-stocks a full shelf of board books on our mobile book cart. Or, to donate a book directly, go to ECBC’s Amazon Wish List by clicking HERE, and search the wish list for “board book”. All books purchased from this list will be sent directly to ECBC. THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!


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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #22 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 22. The 22nd way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive through treatment is by participating in larger hospital events by giving away books, hosting storytimes, and guiding patients in book-inspired crafts. For example, ECBC has a booth at CHOC’s annual Halloween event where patients trick-or-treat for books, ECBC brings its mobile book cart to MaxLove Projects monthly Be Super Parties in the hospital library to give away books and sometimes host a story time with craft, and ECBC participates in CHOC’s inpatient cancer survivorship day with book crafting ables and book give-aways. Having a presence at larger hospital events helps to fulfill ECBC’s mission to make books and reading part of the landscape of kids’ everyday care at CHOC. 

To support BOOK IT 2020 and ECBC’s participation in hospital events, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020 to donate. Note that per hospital requirements, ECBC only gives away brand new books, so the cost of a book give-away booth even at just a couple hour event can be pretty significant. THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! #BOOKIT2020 #books4choc #readthinkthrive #thriveagainstcancer #childhoodcancerawarenessmonth


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Five More Ways ECBC Helps Hospitalized Kids Thrive: September 17-21st.

The last five days of ways that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive have gone unposted due to extensive prep for ECBC’s large book bag packaging day on Saturday, so here briefly are the five ways for those days, including today. Bedside reading has been the backbone of ECBC’s programs at CHOC, yet they are still on hold since there is no “covid-allowed” way to get our volunteers in the hospital. We have already described a few ways that bedside reading benefits hospitalized kids; here are a few more:

September 17. Bedside reading exposes patients to poetry! Generally speaking, all kids are under-exposed to poetry…yet it’s a wonderful type of text to read aloud. It’s fun to listen to, it’s great for langauge and vocabulary building, it can be a powerful way to work on some important comprehension skills such as visualizing and making text connections, and it can be a bridge to greater interest in reading other types of texts. Bedside readers make sure to include poetry in their read alouds with patients of all ages.

September 18. Most hospitalized teens (and non-hospitalized teens) are long passed the days of being read to. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from it, especially when they tend to spend most of their time in the hospital room on a screen. Our bedside readers include teens in their invitations to participate in a read aloud, and when they get a “yes”, they know which books to select that are short enough for a 15-20 minute read-aloud yet clever or interesting enough to generate thoughtful dialogue. Bedside readers are thrilled when they get to read to a teenager, and it seems like most teens that give it a try end up asking for more. 

September 19. In addition to reading to oncology patients, ECBC’s bedside readers also have read regularly to neurology patients — many of whom have neurocognitive deficits or are nonverbal. We have received incredible feedback from neurology patient parents that their children are enjoying and benefiting from the read alouds, and they’ve expressed gratitude that their kids are included in read-aloud sessions despite their ability to respond in typical ways.  

September 20. Bedside readers also engage patients in creative literature-based crafts, such as making a popsicle stick story character, painting a setting on a blank puzzle, or writing a sequel to a picture book. These activities nurture creative thinking as well as more positive attitudes about literature and reading. 

September 21. ECBC’s Read-Aloud Wagon…just seeing it in the hallway has become a visible reminder to patents and families about the importance of reading while in the hospital. It is not uncommon for bedside readers to be stopped while pulling a wagon and asked for a room visit.  Exactly ECBC’s mission, that books and reading become part of kids care at CHOC!

To support BOOK IT 2020 and ECBC’s bedside reading program, go to www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020. Donate $20 to fund one bedside reading book, $100 for a new poetry book for each of our six age group categories, and $600 for one month’s supply of high-quality books for the bedside reading read-aloud wagons.  THANK YOU for helping to honor cancer warriors and hospitalized kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!