NILES - Eight-year-old Dylan Binion said he enjoys reading books, especially about sports. On Thursday, he found a baseball book that he could call his own, complete with a name tag inside.
Members of First Book-Trumbull County spent Thursday handing out one or two free books each to more than 75 children at the Royal Mall in Niles.
Ellen Finan with First Book said they coincided the distribution of the children's books with the summer feeding site through the Warren City Schools summer food service program.
Loren Gargano, a retired Niles teacher and guidance counselor, left, assists Xzavier Bradley, 6, of Niles, in selecting a book as part of First-Book Trumbull County’s free book distribution Thursday to children who live at the Royal Mall in Niles. First Book will also be distributing books in Warren in July.
Photo by Bob Coupland
The program - ''Summer Feeding + Summer Reading'' - on Thursday featured pizza and the First Book volunteers of retired librarians, teachers and guidance counselors.
Finan said books ranged from animals to dinosaurs to sports to flashcards for younger children who need to learn words and letters.
''We want children to have access to books over the summer. Too often, children go through the summer slide being out of school where they lose some of their skills. We are hoping that with continued reading in the summer months we can halt that a little bit,'' Finan said.
The books come from various fundraising, donations and grants from service organizations. One popular fundraiser is the Edible Book Art, in which children and adults make cakes and food from book titles.
Finan said plans are to distribute books through July at other locations.
Jeanine Fox, manager of the Royal Mall, said the summer food program is beneficial to the children and add on new books makes it a special day for the children.
''Many of the children would not have access to books they can keep if it wasn't for First Book being here,'' Fox said.