Lincoln County April Tornado claims a family’s Imagination Library books but not their love of reading

The Manderson family was greatly affected by the April 29th tornado that hit Lincoln County.  The family had been staying with parents while their new home was being built.  The parents’ home had an old mechanical shop that was just perfect for storing valuables until time to move into the new house.  When the storm hit, all the Mandersons were safe inside a storm shelter on the property, but everything stored inside the shop was blown away or damaged, including all the treasures of the Manderson children. Grandmother Donna Reavis, a teacher at Flintville Middle School, told Kathy Hobson, the reading teacher, that the children were heartbroken that all their Imagination Library books had blown away in the storm.  Riley (age 9) stated,” I realized all my favorite books were gone and I really, really love to read!”

Thanks to some dedicated volunteers, on July 14th the children met at the Fayetteville Public Library to choose some new books to replace the ones they lost in the tornado.  Teresa Brown, program coordinator, Addie Hodges, database manager, and Patricia Hopper, Lincoln County Imagination Library board member were in attendance.  For them it was a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the children who benefit from receiving books each month in the mail through the Imagination Library program.

The children’s mother, Miranda, shared how hard it was to lose toys, books, pictures, and everything of value in the tornado.  Reading an Imagination Library book each night was a special part of the family’s bedtime routine. The collection of over 60 books per child was enough that they could read a different one each night. 

The older children, Riley and Layne (age 5), had received Imagination Library books beginning at birth. Since the tornado, Reese, the 2 year old, has been enrolled in the program and is now receiving his very own books. The Imagination Library program in partnership with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation makes it possible for an age appropriate book to arrive in the mail each month with the child’s name on the book.  When siblings are also enrolled in the program, the books arrive on different days as age group books are mailed at different times of the month. If a child is enrolled at birth, they will receive a personal library of 60 books by the time they “graduate” at age 5. Each year the book list varies a little so that a family will have new books in their collection.  The Imagination Library encourages parents to enroll all their children so each one will experience the joy of getting their very own special book in the mail each month.

“Our board members and donors care deeply that the children of Lincoln County have books in the home starting at birth so they will grow up with a love of reading,” commented Teresa Brown.  Addie Hodges, Imagination Library database manager and board member, has promised to find some of Layne’s favorite Llama Llama books to add to their new Imagination Library book collection.