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 HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported ECBC’s BOOK IT 2020 Virtual Book Drive by donating, creating a fundraising team, and/or sharing on social media! 124 donors raised $22,000+, which is just over 2/3 of our fundraising goal. While this is not quite enough to sustain our full programs once we are given the green light to do so, it is wonderful given that we could not have our annual in-person event this year (which has been responsible for 50% of our revenue in past years) — and it is enough for ECBC to get going now with our Covid-modified programs.

The BOOK IT donation site is still up and open for donations if you haven’t had a chance to contribute (, though there will be no more explicit monetary donation pushes for BOOK IT until 2021. We still will, however, need to continue with outreach for book donations, especially since our programming is currently 100% book gifting and with a lack of our usual large school and philanthropic group book donations.*

I would like to extend a super special thank you to our top donors and fundraising teams. THANK YOU to our top fundraisers Mary Kay Viscounty, Susie Alexander, Team Portstreets, and Zack Adzich. We are so grateful for your personal efforts to rally others behind our cause. A tremendous thank you also to our top individual donors: Tod & Sharon Paris, Fidelity National Title Company, Bill and Royce Bellaty, Kevin Kodzis, Behr Paint, Fenny’s Flowers, Enderle Center, Peter Royston, Stahl Family, Antonius Family, Tweedt Family, and an ongoing ECBC friend and advocate who wishes to remain anonymous but deserves mention being our very top donor! Together, this mighty group was vital to the success of this campaign, having contributed more than half of the total funds raised. 

Thank you for supporting ECBC during this especially difficult time to be a super tiny nonprofit. Your donations allow ECBC to keep helping hospitalized kids to thrive through treatment with books and reading — which is a powerful contributor to cognitive health and thus general wellness. 

Please stay connected with ECBC by following us on our website ( or on Facebook/Instagram (@ethanandchocosbookclub). And save the date for BOOKIT 2021, hopefully in-person — Monday, September 6. 

With deepest gratitude,

Ali, Ethan and the ECBC Team

* Please know that 100% of funds and books raised go to ECBC operating and program costs — ECBC has no employees and I take no salary.

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If you haven’t yet supported ECBC’s Virtual Book Drive, please consider donating on this final day by going to and giving an amount equivalent to what you would have spent if you had participated in our in-person event ($40 for one registration, $160 for a family of four).  To donate a book directly from ECBC’s Amazon Wish list, CLICK HERE. Here’s why we need your help so badly, especially now:

  • To fund our Covid-modified programs, which are costlier than pre-Covid. These include Book Bags for all new cancer diagnoses (finally, every kid!); book deliveries using our new Cool Cart at the Outpatient Infusion Center for every child coming in for an infusion (~!50 per 1-2 weeks, compared to pre-Covid 100 books/month); a virtual book club for teen cancer patients including a Kindle and monthly e-books (brand new); upcoming Halloween book deliveries for all patients (room deliveries compared to pre-Covid when patients trick-or-treated at our booth). Whereas bedside reading was the backbone of ECBC’s programming pre-Covid and was relatively cheap to run, a shift to 100% gifting is significantly more costly. 
  • To sustain our other ongoing inpatient programs as soon as we are given the green light. 
  • To help offset the significant loss of incoming books. We have significantly fewer books coming in due to the lack of onsite book drives and book fairs happening in schools and by philanthropic groups, which in the past have provided the majority of our gifting books.
  • To keep us going until BOOK IT 2021, when we will hopefully be able to host our in-person charity run and book drive again!

We have raised just over 2/3 of our fundraising goal, which is awesome but not enough. Every donation makes a huge difference in our ability to keep on going with our mission to help hospitalized kids thrive with books and reading!

For the month of September, I have been sharing a specific way that ECBC helps kids thrive though treatment — as a way to complete our BOOK IT campaign and also as a way to honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To conclude our “30 Ways”, Way #30 is that we hope that ECBC and Ethan’s story might be a model  (along with many other kid-driven efforts out there) for patient-driven innovation and change-making. For Ethan, “doing ECBC” gave Ethan purpose and helped to turn an incredibly difficult time into something positive  — it helped him to not just survive cancer but thrive through and after it. We hope that his story might inspire other hospitalized kids to find their own way, no matter how small, to step up/speak out/innovate/give back that is personal, meaningful, and contributes to their own thrivership through hardship!

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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 $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 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: 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 $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 THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

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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 $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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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 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!

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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #16 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 16. The sixteenth way that ECBC helps hospitalized kids thrive is by having trained expert volunteers who become model for caregivers as to how to read aloud in ways that help to support interest in books, literacy skills, and cognitive thrivership. For example, bedside readers show the importance of reading aloud slowly and ensuring that kids see the pictures simultaneously to the words being read. Bedside readers also model the importance of asking open-ended questions about the text, of pointing out unknown words and uncovering their meanings together, and of showing their own good and strategic thinking about text so that readers know that reading is about finding meaning (not just sounding out words as many readers learn to do). By showing off behaviors that promote optimal read alouds and quality dialogue, caregivers are able to see and hopefully incorporate some of these behaviors in their own read-aloud interactions with their children. Which is part of the hope of bedside reading, that these situations will lead to many more quality reading experience for kids in the hospital with their own parents and caregivers. 

To support BOOK IT 2020, go to Donate $20 to fund one bedside reading book, 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!

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30 Ways ECBC Helps Cancer Warriors Thrive Through Treatment: Day #15 of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 15. The 15th way that ECBC supports cognitive health for hospitalized kids is by making sure that we always have a supply of high-quality graphic novels to offer to patients–whether it be on the mobile book cart on the inpatient side of CHOC, via our Outpatient Infusion Center deliveries, through our book boxes for new cancer diagnoses, or at special events. Graphic novels tend to be criticized as inadequate literature for kids to read. However, high quality graphic novels have won prestigious ALA (American Library Association) awards for their terrific stories, deep themes, and wonderful illustrations. And, comprehending graphic novels where readers must construct meaning from individual graphic panels into a coherent whole is a cognitively complex activity that helps to develop good thinking. Also, good stories in graphic novel formats require the same comprehension strategies required for stories written in prose, such as predicting and inferring, so they are an opportunity to practice comprehension skills. Perhaps even more importantly, graphic texts can be a powerful bridge for reluctant readers to other text types, so they are a great starting point for reluctant/struggling readers that often end up turning kids into avid readers. Finally, they’re so popular — they are the best at getting the patients to put their screens down to read!

ECBC can’t keep graphic novels on any of our shelves, as they go immediately! To fund graphic novels for all of our programs, go to $10-$20 funds one graphic novel, $100 refills the couple graphic novel bins on our book cart for OPI deliveries, and $500 re-stocks the graphic novel shelf on our inpatient mobile book cart.  THANK YOU for supporting BOOK IT2020 and helping to honor cancer warriors during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!