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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BOO-ks for Treats Delivered!

Today ECBC delivered 200 bags of Halloween “BOO-KS for Treats” (500 books) to CHOC Children’s Hospital for their reverse trick-or-treating event on Friday. We delivered another 100 books to CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion for our library cart, so that kids coming in for infusions will also receive Halloween books. We will miss participating in CHOC’s usual trick-or-treating event but we are so happy to be able to contribute to CHOC’s Halloween celebration this year. A big THANK YOU to everyone who donated Halloween-themed books, and a huge thank you to Behr Paint for conducting a corporate book drive and donating about 115 of the books. And, a special thank you to the Antonius Family, Bill and Royce Bellaty, Enderle Center, Fenny’s Flowers, Peter Royston, and the Stahl Family for your BOOK IT2020 donations that were allocated specifically to funding Halloween books — your donations were used to purchase the remainder of the books that we needed for this event (all book-plated with you names on them). Finally, thank you to our awesome Board members and Programs Committee Mary Kay Viscounty, Sandy Tweedt, and Anne Case for your help in coordinating the Behr book drive and assembling all supplies!


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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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A Book Bag Recipient…and ECBC’s “Why”

We rarely get to see recipients’ reactions to receiving a Read Think Thrive Bag — so when we do it is super awesome! and special Here’s Blake receiving his bag, and Blake’s mom’s comments in her post about it (with permission to share). THIS is why we do what we do, this makes all the work worth it.


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Halloween Book Drive for CHOC Patients!

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner, and ECBC needs your help with Halloween-themed book donations! Annually on Halloween, ECBC has joined in with CHOC Children’s Hospital’s trick-or-treating event by hosting a “BOO-ks for Treats” booth alongside the many other booths that give away candy, small toys, and other treats. This is a super special event for ECBC co-founder Ethan, who was diagnosed with Leukemia on October 28 (2014) and began his chemotherapy on October 31, while still getting to dress up and trick-or-treat in the hospital. In 2014, there were no books at this event, so Ethan is so proud to be able to provide a literary treat as part of the loot that patients receive on Halloween. 

This year, per Covid safety precautions, CHOC’s Halloween event will happen in “reverse trick-or-treating” style, with CHOC staff delivering goodies directly to each patient room. ECBC has agreed to provide Halloween book baggies to each patient, consisting of 2 age-appropriate Halloween books per bag. We also hope to deliver Halloween books to kids visiting the Outpatient Infusion Center for an infusion in the couple weeks leading up to Halloween. Which means ECBC needs 500-600 books! Please help by donating a book or two if you can! We especially need online book donations this year, as in the past years ECBC has received a few hundred of our Halloween books from school book drives and book fairs, which we are not getting this year. You can donate by clicking ON THIS LINK to our Halloween Wish List on Amazon:   All books purchased from this list will be sent directly to ECBC and bookplated with donor names. THANK YOU for helping ECBC help OC’s kids who are stuck at CHOC on Halloween to thrive with awesome literature!


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THANK YOU BOOK IT 2020 SUPPORTERS!

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 (runsignup.com/BOOKIT2020), 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 (ethanandchocosbookclub.com) 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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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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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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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!


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ECBC’s First Mega Book Bag Packaging Day is in the Books!

Yesterday ECBC had its first Read Think Thrive (RTT) Bag Mega Packaging Day, where 120 of our book bags were packaged by teen Girl Scouts so they could be delivered to CHOC Children’s Hospital next week. These bags contain ten new, high-quality books curated by the age and gender of the recipient, along with new art supplies (crayons, colored pencils, markers, paints, clay), various mediums for literature-based creative projects, and miscellaneous items including bookmarks, reading lights, and care cards with personal messages from youth volunteers. With their delivery to CHOC next week, this will be the first time that ECBC will have a supply of RTT Bags on site at the hospital, which (with the help of amazing CHOC staff) will allow us to finally accomplish our goal to get a book bag to EVERY new cancer diagnosis at CHOC.

THANK YOU to the awesome girls in Troop #2695 and Troop #3115 for the prep work you did leading up to the event we well as for your hard work yesterday! And, a HUGE shout out to 14-year old Girl Scout Senior Abigail Tweedt and Troop 2695 leader Sandy Tweedt: Abigail for your tremendous leadership and work you did leading up to packaging day, and Sandy for leading girls in the Silver Project (under especially difficult circumstances given Covid restrictions) and your invaluable ongoing commitment to ECBC. This day could not have happened without you!