$500,000 in books donated to Navajo, Hopi schools

Joshua Kellogg
  • CCSD to receive 2,400 books for pre-school and kindergarten students.
  • More than 21,000 books will be donated to the Navajo Nation Library.
Children at Lincoln Elementary School in Gallup receive books from the Reader to Reader organization on Monday.

FARMINGTON – A Massachusetts-based nonprofit is making its largest donation of books ever — worth about a half million dollars — to Navajo and Hopi nation schools.

Reader to Reader Inc. is donating about 22,000 books to five school districts in Arizona and New Mexico, according to David Mazor, founder and executive director of the nonprofit.

It is an increase of about 5,000 books from last year’s donation of about 17,000 books that was worth about $200,000.

“This is the biggest single donation we have ever done,” Mazor said.

The books are going to Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools, the Central Consolidated School District, the Hopi School District in Keams Canyon, Ariz., the Tuba City Unified School District in Tuba City, Ariz. and the Ganado Unified School District in Ganado, Ariz. Gallup schools will receive about 14,000 books, the most of the five districts.

Reader to Reader has donated more than $3 million to Navajo and Hopi schools in the last 11 years, according to a press release.

Mazor attributed the large donation to the work the nonprofit has done to increase the number of publishers it works with, and the donations of books from the publishers have increased.

The books were donated to Reader to Reader as part of its partnership with Scholastic Corporation’s Scholastic Possible Fund and several publishers including the SOHO Press and the Pioneer Valley Press.

About 2,400 books were donated to CCSD that are aimed at pre-school and kindergarten students, according to Mazor.

James Preminger, CCSD spokesman, said the district really appreciates how Reader to Reader supports its students.

"CCSD is grateful to receive these books each year," Preminger said. "This is a really worthwhile program that helps our students and our schools."

Along with the donations made to the school districts, the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, Ariz., will receive more than 21,000 books.

Library Director Irving Nelson said most of the books will be given to children across the Navajo Nation.

“It feels awesome to put smiles on the children’s’ faces,” Nelson said.

Books will be handed out during the Navajo Nation fairs held across the reservation along with events organized by the office of Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and the Office of Diné Youth.

In the past, donations have also been made to the McKinley County Adult Detention Center in Gallup and regional nursing homes.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.