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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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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Book Delivery Day at CHOC!

Today was book delivery day for ECBC at CHOC Outpatient Oncology — we re-stocked our library cart at the Outpatient Infusion Center, re-filled bookshelves at the Oncology Clinic, and replenished inventory of Read Think Thrive Bags for new cancer diagnoses. Cancer diagnoses are WAY up right now, especially among teens. Which I hate hearing so much. But i love that through ECBC we can help kids thrive through treatment by gifting them a mini library of wonderful new books.

Our regular book donations to ECBC have all but stopped, with nothing coming in from school book fairs or community events. To help us sustain our book gifting programs, please CLICK HERE to make a cash donation or click on these links to donate a book from our Amazon Wish Lists: Board books, Spanish books, all types of books.


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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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Today’s Outpatient Infusion Center delivery

ECBC’s new mobile COOL (CHOC Oncology Outpatient Library) Cart has been wheeled around to patients visiting CHOC OPI for infusions for about two weeks now, and today I had the pleasure of re-stocking the cart with a whole bunch of awesome kid lit, including about 50% Halloween books (ranging from board books to young adult horror and everything in between). I also replenished the supply of our book bags for kids who are diagnosed with cancer —too many kids are being diagnosed right now. And I got to fulfill an individual request for a specific book series—the patient didn’t want any of the 250 books on the cart, only Mercy Watson chapter books (she has good tastes, as this is a terrific easy chapter book series). Gifting high-quality books to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them truly brings me so much joy.


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Storytime with Ethan & Choco: A Hungry Lion

Here’s Ethan’s read-aloud show that is being aired today by the radio station at CHOC Children’s Hospital. A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals…If you aren’t familiar with this picture book, share this with your kiddos. It has a surprising and super funny ending! #StorytimeWithEthanandChoco #HungryLion #ECBC #ReadThinkThrive #ThriveAgainstCancer #StayStrongAndReadOn


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Storytime with Ethan & Choco: Officer Buckle & Gloria

Ethan’s read aloud that is being aired on CHOC Children’s radio station today — a funny story that is sure to make patients laugh! #StorytimeWithEthanandChoco #OfficerBuckle #ECBC #ReadThinkThrive #ThriveAgainstCancer #StayStrongAndReadOn