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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Happy New Year from Ethan & Choco’s Book Club!

2022 was productive and impactful for ECBC! We finally returned to pre-Covid levels of programming, and we far surpassed prior years’ book gifting levels — giving away 400-500 new books per month between our outpatient and inpatient gifting libraries. At the end of 2021 we were given the green light to resume our inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program (which had been on halt since the start of Covid), and in 2022 we were given an additional day, so our bedside readers are now reading and gifting books in patient rooms two days per week. Our amazing group of volunteer bedside readers is growing (now at 14) — passionate about kids’ literacy/literature, they provide high-quality interactive read -alouds for patients of all ages that are also often kids’ only non-medical related conversations of the day. We gave a Read Think Thrive Bag to every child at CHOC as they were diagnosed with cancer — which was a hefty commitment this year given that the cancer diagnosis rate was the highest in the history of the hospital (we gifted 10-15 book bags per month, valued at $150 per bag). We continued to give away large numbers of holiday-themed books for various holidays, and we enjoyed returning to Miracle Manor (Miracles for Kids’ subsidized housing for CHOC families) to provide Christmas storytime for patients and siblings. And, we continued to provide free Kindles and Kindle books for teen and young adult cancer patients in our virtual book club, with book selections and discussion curated by ECBC co-founder Ethan. Despite not being able to hold our in-person annual fundraiser for a third consecutive year, we raised enough funds via our virtual BOOK IT to sustain our programming (though not enough to grow in order to meet increasing demands and costs). THANK YOU to our amazing community for supporting ECBC — every monetary donation, book donation, book drive, and social medial shout-out has mattered and allows ECBC to keep on going. And a special thank you to ECBC’s Board of Directors — Susie Alexander, Sandy Tweedy, Craig Bryson, Fenny Kokenge, Mary Kay Viscounty, Anne Case, and Dr. Van Huynh — I am deeply grateful for the commitment and contributions of each of you.

Going forward in 2023, ECBC plans to continue to promote hospitalized kids’ cognitive health and thrivership by:

  1. Growing our inpatient reading program to more expert reader volunteers, more days per week, more patient floors, and greater impact on kids’ thrivership during their hospital stays. We hope to move closer to our ultimate goal of offering reading to patients daily, consistent with decades of research that shows the benefits of reading aloud at least fifteen minutes per day.
  2. Sustaining our high levels of book donations across our various book gifting programs — including our gifting libraries at CHOC’s Oncology Clinic and Outpateint Infusion Center so that every child visiting the clinic or OPI can select a high-quality book to keep; our holiday book gifting such as BOO-ks for Treats on Halloween and our December holiday book gifting; our book gifting to patients in isolation via our mobile library cart; and our Read Think Thrive (RTT) Bags for patients as they are diagnsoed with cancer. We hope to someday be able to exapnd beyond CHOC to provide our RTT Bags to additional kids who are diagnosed with cancer — though this is likely a more distant goal given the significant additional funds and storage space that would be required for more inventory.
  3. Recruiting more teens and young adults to join Teens Thrive Reading Group (TTRG), our virtual book club for teen cancer warriors that includes gifting Kindles and monthly Kindle books to participants. As this is a virtual program that is not hospital or storage space dependent, we hope to expand TTRG beyond CHOC to include oncology teens from around the country. 
  4. Expanding our impact by providing parents with resources to help them optimally support their kids’ cognitive health 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. Bringing our annual fundraiser (BOOK IT!) back to an in-person run/walk and book drive! This is risky for our tiny nonprofit given the significant upfront costs of hosting an in-person event; however, we need to raise more funds than we can virtually. We are currently seeking event sponsors at all levels — email ali@ecbookclub.com if interested. Please save the date — Labor Day, Monday September 4 2023!
  6. Obtaining office/storage space! We have spent the past 6+ years with a small offsite storage unit and using our founder’s house as the main source of our storage. As we grow our organization, we are in great need of a single space for storage and our volunteer activities (like filling the canvas bags for new diagnoses or sorting and stamping the hundreds of books that we gift each month). As we have a very limited budget, we are looking for an ECBC benefactor who could support us with donating space or finances that would allow us to get a space. We’re hopeful that we can make this happen in 2023!

To start off 2023 with a one-time or recurring monetary donation, please CLICK HERE.

Thank you for helping ECBC help Orange County’s hospitalized kids to thrive with high-quality books and reading experiences!


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If You’re Looking to Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Before the End of 2022…

If you haven’t donated to Ethan & Choco’s Book Club yet this year and are looking to make an end-of-year gift  before January 1, you can still do so now! CHOC Children’s is beyond full capacity with playrooms and other social spaces converted to patient rooms; cancer diagnoses are at an all-time high for the hospital; and most of ECBC’s programs have returned to or surpassed their pre-Covid levels of operation — so donations are greatly needed to meet the significant demand. All donations will go directly towards helping hospitalized kids (especially kids battling cancer and other life-altering conditions) thrive through treatment with high-quality books and read-aloud experiences. For example, a $20 donation may buy a book for a child who is inpatient on the oncology floor; a $150 donation may provide a book bag containing a mini-library of age and gender appropriate literature for a child just recently diagnosed with cancer; and a $250 donation may provide a Kindle and monthly Kindle books for a teenage oncology warrior. All donations are tax-deductible, and donors are acknowledged on the items they fund. You can CLICK HERE to donate: Please email Ali@ECbookclub.com for a donation receipt.


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Holiday Reading for CHOC Patients!

On Monday we delivered several hundred December holiday-themed books to our outpatient libraries, and yesterday we filled up our Gifting Library Cart on the inpatient side at CHOC for kids who are stuck in the hospital over the holidays. We also added wonderful holiday books to each age category of our Read Aloud Wagons. Thank you to Bedside Readers Mary Kay and Suzanne for launching holiday storytimes in patient rooms yesterday! Patient favorite of the day: Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story (by Edward Hemingway).

We will continue to re-stock our gifting cart with holiday books for the month of December as long as we have inventory…but we will go through the books fast since the hospital is at full capacity. Please consider donating a book from our holiday wish list! Click HERE to access the list.


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THANK YOU TVT!!!

HOW COMPLETELY AMAZING IS THIS??! Tarbut V’ Torah (TVT) Lower School just collected and donated 1,024 new books for ECBC! This is impressive for a school of any size, but TVT’s lower school has only 410 students! A ton of great books of every type — this will help us for months! TVT has always been our strongest school partner, donating 200 or more books every year since we started ECBC. But this year they knocked it out of the park! They beat their own school record from 2019 of 310 books, and they far exceeded their goal for this year of 350 books. They also almost doubled the school donation record across all school donors of 531 books!

THANK YOU TVT families for helping ECBC help hospitalized kids to thrive through treatment with books and reading. Congratulations to the 4th graders for collecting the most books and earning the ice cream party (which apparently the whole school now gets due to the generous cash kickback from Scholastic!)! And a very special thank you to the Diaz family for your super significant contribution!!!  Also thank you to the 4th/5th grade leadership class for your amazing efforts at rallying the school with your posters and videos — it is so exciting to hear that every kid got on board! And thank you to Galina and Hayley for all your help organizing the book drive. ECBC is so very grateful for our ongoing partnership with TVT!


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Thank you Jack & Jill Guild and Arvida Book Co!

A big thank you to the Jack & Jill Guild of CHOC Children’s Hospital for a successful “Happy Hour Book Drive” yesterday at Arvida. In just a couple of hours, many awesome new books were purchased and donated (number TBD, since many were ordered online), which will get delivered to patients over the next few weeks. ECBC so appreciates the Jack & Guild’s ongoing support! A special shout out to Hoppy Meyer for her work coordinating the event. And thank you to Arvida owners Sam and Mike for partnering with ECBC to help provide books for patients at CHOC!

Arvida collects book donations for ECBC on an ongoing basis, so please stop by the store if you can to purchase a new book to donate! It’s a huge win-win for all as you will also be supporting a truly awesome local Tustin independent bookstore with new and used books, a very cool coffee bar with terrific coffee, and cozy seating to hang and read and chat!

THANK YOU for your support in helping hospitalized kids to thrive through the holidays with books and reading!


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THANK YOU NCTE AND ARVIDA!

How amazing is this?! A HUGE donation of teen/YA books from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), via Arvida Book Co who attended their conference last month. Exact number TBD, but it’s looking upwards of 1000 books. THANK YOU NCTE, publishers, and Arvida for making it easier for us to provide hospitalized teens with excellent literature! 


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Outpatient Holiday Book Delivery!

Today, we delivered a TON (288, to be exact) of new December holiday-themed books to our mini-libraries at CHOC Children’s Outpatient Infusion (OPI) Center and CHOC’s Oncology Clinic! This allows all patients who visit the oncology clinic or OPI in the next few weeks to pick out a terrific holiday book — with choices ranging from lift-the-flap board books to Christmas- and other-holiday themed picture books to holiday-themed graphic novels, joke books, and chapter books for middle graders and teens/ young adults. We also re-stocked our inventory of Read Think Thrive Bags for kids who are diagnosed with cancer.

We are STILL in need of more holiday-themed books to be able to offer them to kids on the oncology and neurology floor on the inpatient side in the coming weeks! If you would like to donate a book, please CLICK HERE to access our amazon wish list. All books will be sent directly to ECBC, and bookplates will be added with donor names.

THANK YOU for helping hospitalized kids thrive through the holidays with books and reading!


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ECBC at Miracle Manor

Ethan & Choco’s Book Club was so honored to be part of Miracles for Kids’ holiday party for CHOC patients and families living at Miracle Manor (a home subsidized by Miracles For Kids for low-income CHOC families with critically ill children). ECBC Board member and bedside reader Mary Kay provided an engaging holiday-themed storytime for the kids, and then along with Santa, Mary Kay passed out holiday book bags to all 33 patients and siblings living at Miracle Manor — with all bags containing two books curated by the age, gender, and interests of each child. We loved adding books and reading to these families’ holiday festivities (and how amazing that during the festivities, Miracles for Kids volunteers were busy decorating each of the family’s apartments for Christmas!). THANK YOU Miracles for Kids for letting Ethan & Choco’s Book Club participate in this magical event, thank you Mary Kay for making time to be there for the kids, and THANK YOU to all who donated holiday-themed books for the kiddos!  

If you haven’t had a chance to donate a holiday book, ECBC is still running our December holiday book drive. Click HERE to donate.


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It’s Giving Tuesday! Please help!

In the spirit of #GivingTuseday and the upcoming holiday season, please consider purchasing a book from ECBC’s December holiday wish list (CLICK HERE). All books will go directly to hospitalized kids — who are either inpatient at CHOC, visiting the outpatient oncology clinic or the infusion center for chemo, or patients and siblings who are living at Miracle for Kids’ subsidized housing. Donate now and patients will start receiving holiday books next week! All books donated will be sent directly to ECBC and bookplated with donor name.


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Ethan speaks at TVT

Co-founder Ethan speaks at Tarbut v’ Torah’s (TVT) Lower School, where he shares his story of battling cancer and founding ECBC. This kicked off the book drive that TVT will host next week alongside their school book fair, where the 4th and 5th grade leadership class will try to rally the school to beat their 2019 record of 310 books. ECBC is so grateful for TVT’s annual support since 2016!