A local teacher was surprised last month with free books for her students.
Head Start children were given their own copies of "Eating the Alphabet" and treated to cake and a visit from Winnie the Pooh during a party held at the Girard Multi-Generational Center.
Parents, teachers and board members, as well as Girard Mayor James Melfi, were in attendance to congratulate the school.
Head Start students in Cheryl Mangan’s afternoon class at the Girard Multi-Generational Center hold up the books they were given Tuesday by First Book-Trumbull County. The nonprofit organization held the party in commemoration of giving away its 100 millionth book.
"I was overwhelmed," said Head Start teacher Cheryl Mangan after First Book-Trumbull County paraded into her afternoon class with a large cake and several bags of books. "I'm totally shocked."
Some children jumped up and down while others hugged their books closely after Ellen Finan, chair of First Book-Trumbull County, passed them out.
"She's kind of had a hard year," Finan said, explaining that the school did not receive a grant for books this year.
In addition to the 34 copies of "Eating the Alphabet," Mangan was given a First Book 20th Anniversary Collection - a compilation of the top 10 titles of the most iconic children's books - as well as $100.
Mangan said she will use the $100 grant to purchase more books for the children, with the hope of starting a unit on children's author Robert Munsch.
Girard was one of five locations selected to represent the distribution of First Book's 100 millionth book.
Finan said the Trumbull County branch of the organization has raised $8,000 this year to provide new books to children from low-income families.
"It's our honor and privilege to be part of this milestone event in our community," said Head Start director Jeanne Wall. "This effort has encouraged reading at home."