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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Outpatient Book Delivery Day at CHOC!

Today was book re-stocking day at CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center and at the Oncology Clinic. We delivered 200 new books to be offered to oncology kiddos whenever they visit the hospital for a chemo infusion or for a check-up. We also delivered 19 of our Read+Think+Thrive Bags, which contain ten new books and art supplies and are delivered to all kids soon after they are diagnosed with cancer.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to donate to BOOK IT 2021, our annual fundraiser, please consider doing so now and helping us fund these book bags as well as other ECBC programs — runsignup.com/BOOKIT2021. 120-150 kids are diagnosed with cancer at CHOC per year, and we are hoping to continue to get book bags to every one! If you would prefer to donate a book, you can do so using this link to our BOOK IT 2021 Amazon Wish List: https://a.co/dgc3bwV. Thank you!


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120 Read Think Thrive Bags Packed and Ready To Go!

ECBC’s second Mega Read Think Thrive Bag Packaging Day! Today 120 book bags were packed by these awesome volunteers! A HUGE thank you to ECBC board members Sandy Tweedt, Susie Alexander, and Anne Case for planning and executing this day — It’s not a small feat, as these bags contain approximately $20K in high-quality books, art supplies, book lights, bookmarks, journals, blank books and blank comic books, a parent resource pamphlet with tips for supporting reading through treatment, and Ethan’s creative response thrive challenges —all curated by the gender and six age groups of the recipients. We can’t wait to get these bags into the hands of kids at CHOC as they are diagnosed with cancer —a toolbox of sorts to support cognitive health and thrivership through treatment (when cognitive health is often at risk due to lack of school and literature-based experiences, limited social interaction, less varied world experiences, and treatment methods and disease processes that directly affect cognition.).

THANK YOU amazing volunteers and totally awesome board of Directors, we couldn’t do any of this without yout! And a great big thank you to Erik Tweedt for sharing your warehouse space with EBCB for storage and packaging days — we are so grateful.

If you’d like to help fund these bags, as well as other ECBC book and reading programs at CHOC, please consider donating to our annual fundraiser at www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2021. Or, if you’d like to donate a book directly, you can purchase a book from our BOOOK IT2021 Amazon Wish List by clicking HERE.


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Please consider supporting ECBC in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

This photo popped up in my Facebook feed today — from September 1, 2015 — the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month six years ago and also the day that Ethan returned to school for 3rd grade after missing all of second grade. He had just finished the hardest part of his 3.5 year battle with Leukemia. While he still had a ways to go at this point with 2.5 more years of chemo, he was kicking cancer’s butt — loving school, playing tennis and golf, and reading voraciously into so many fictional and nonfictional worlds. This photo was also just a few months before we founded Ethan & Choco’s Book Club (ECBC), where Ethan and I committed to making sure that kids undergoing treatment at CHOC, especially life-altering illness such as cancer, received the same benefits from books and reading that he did while battling Leukemia. 

ECBC has come a long way since its inception — with numerous inpatient and outpatient reading programs for patients of all ages and gifting thousands of books a year. BUT we need your help in order to sustain our book gifting programs and re-launch our inpatient programs in October (we were just given the green light to bring our volunteers back to CHOC, woo hoo!). We are highly dependent on our annual fundraiser, BOOK IT, which provides the majority of the funds ECBC needs to run its programs. In the spirit of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month , please consider supporting thrivership for kid cancer warriors by donating to our online fundraiser.  We are aiming to raise enough funds to get us to next September 2022, when we are hoping to host a full BOOK IT with a return of our in-person charity runs and book drive.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Make a monetary donation online at www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2021
  • Become a “fundraiser”, with your own fundraiser name, monetary goal, and unique URL that can be used to send people directly to your fundraiser page. Click here to set up your fundraising page.
  • Donate a book directly. Click here to access the BOOK IT 2021 Amazon Wish List. All books purchased from this list will be automatically sent to Ethan & Choco’s Book Club.
  • Conduct your own book drive. If you wish to collect books on your own or conduct your own book drive with your family/friends/workplace for subsequent in-person donation, please email ali@ECbookclub.com We will send you a link to a separate wish list that you can share with your community and that let’s you specify the address to ship the books.
  • Help us spread the word by sharing the link to the donation site: http://www.runsignup.com/BOOKIT2021.

Thank you for helping Orange County’s hospitalized kids thrive through treatment!


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LAST DAY TO SUPPORT BOOK IT 2020!

If you haven’t yet supported ECBC’s Virtual Book Drive, please consider donating on this final day by going to runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020 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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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: 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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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!