Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

On Friday, Joy Lukachick of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote an article about the work being done through Ringgold Reads to support the rebuilding of classrooms and libraries at the middle school and high school.

You can read the entire article here, but here is my favorite line:

"Gilmore and the book club members have given more than 1,500 books to the schools.  The books come from donations by people across the nation and from Random House and Simon & Schuster..."

Those people across the nation who are making this possible?  That's you!  Thank you to each and every individual who is making this possible for our city.  We are so thankful for each and every gift we've receive and we are still working on gathering books, currently focusing on Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank you, Simon & Schuster!

Ringgold Reads is thrilled to have the chance to thank Simon & Schuster, who read about Ringgold Reads in Shelf Awareness and have responded by donating classroom quantities of each of their titles needed by the school!  This incredible donation has moved us even closer to our initial goal of filling each classroom at RHS and RMS with books.  We are each moved by the generosity of Simon & Schuster and their eagerness to contribute to developing a love of reading in students who would not otherwise have access to books this year.

Take a minute of your time to check out Simon & Schuster's website and Facebook page.  Their support not only blesses the students who will have books in their hands this fall, but is also inspiring to the book community as a whole.  The outreach of major publishing houses, such as Simon & Schuster and Random House, Inc., shows that the industry truly believes in the power of reading and its ability to change lives.  Thank you Simon & Schuster for making a difference in the lives of those of us who live in Ringgold!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Meet the Steins

From left to right: Dianne Hale, RHS guidance counselor, Eileen Stein, Sam Stein, Sharon Vaughn, RHS principal.

Watching the news footage from her Virginia home, Eileen Stein felt compelled to do something significant to help Ringgold High School which was damaged in the tornadoes back in April. She wanted to "put a face with the story" and "to help RHS students rebuild their lives and school."

Armed with a desire to make a difference, she decided to take action and make the trek down South. Mark Pierce, RHS English department head, met with Stein and her 16 year old son in Ringgold for a quick tour of the damage and the rebuilding efforts. The principal of RHS, Sharon Vaughn, was able to meet with the Steins for a briefing and for a photo. "The generosity from people like the Steins has been a constant source of encouragement for all of us at RHS. We really could not have made it through this without the magnanimous outpouring of kindness and support."

The RHS English department was thrilled with the contribution from the Stein family as it will help to continue the efforts and the vision of Ringgold Reads which is to provide and to replace books for RHS and RMS. "Meeting the Stein family was a pleasure and an honor. The genuine concern and heartfelt empathy expressed by Mrs. Stein was moving and inspiring," says Mark Pierce. "Mrs. Stein's generous donation, combined with Random House, Inc., Communities in Schools, and many other donors, is certainly making a huge impact in the lives of our students."

Random House author Susan Gregg Gilmore who is the founder of Ringgold Reads was equally delighted to hear of the recent contribution from Mrs. Stein and she expressed her sincere gratitude for the donation. New books and novels continue to arrive daily and school is set to begin on September 6.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shelf Awareness Features Ringgold Reads

Robert Gray, a columnist for Shelf Awareness, featured Ringgold Reads in today's edition of Shelf Awareness for Professionals titled "Sometimes All You Can Do Is Help." 

Last spring, devastating tornadoes raked across the South as part of what has since become a record-breaking year for a category the NOAA calls "billion-dollar weather disasters." There have been so many other "weather events" since then--floods, storms, drought--that the media's attention span has been fully tested as it is lured from one crisis to the next. Being on the scene is the goal. Looking backward is less common.

"We're just trying to keep it in people's minds," said author Susan Gregg Gilmore recently. "Ringgold is a small town and it is easy to forget with so much sadness in the news every day."
This week we'll glance over our collective, weather-weary shoulders at a small city in Georgia where a "book-raising" effort is having an impact. Ringgold was just one of many communities wrecked by tornadoes April 27, but Gilmore had a personal stake there. It was the setting for her first novel, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, and it is where members of her Not So Rapid Readers book group live. When the town was grievously wounded, she wanted to do something to ease the pain and books were the remedy she knew best.

With more than a little help from her friends (Shelf Awareness, May 13, 2011), she launched Ringgold Reads, a long-term effort to rebuild the community with a particular emphasis on restocking library bookshelves at Ringgold Middle School and Ringgold High School, both of which were crushed by 195-mile-per-hour winds. 

"So much has happened since this spring when you ran that piece about Ringgold Reads and our fledgling effort to help this tornado-ravaged community," Gilmore recalled. "People from all over the country have been mailing books in, but of course we still need more! Random House has made a huge contribution of books. Every title the high school and middle school asked for that fell under an RH imprint they gave. And not one--but full classroom sets--so we are talking more than 20 titles, 35-70 of each. I also love that indie Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa., is helping us, too. Miles and miles away but doing so much"

On its website, Aaron's has pledged that all proceeds from sales of Gilmore's novels will be donated to Ringgold Reads, emphasizing with a true handseller's craftiness that "Susan's books are perfect for book groups and to give as gifts... so buy multiple copies!"

Recently, the project received "another great donation from Communities in Schools (CIS) of Catoosa County," Gilmore said. "Basically they support students, families and schools to ensure that our kids succeed. They donated seven classroom sets. That's 245 books. I just want to shout all this good news from the mountaintop!"

The high school's English Department "is incredible--so appreciative, so humble," she added. Speaking of the Random House contribution, department head Mark Pierce said he "still cannot process this amazing gift to our department and to our students. I, too, am overwhelmed. I literally have tears in my eyes."
And the process continues. "Mark and I are already brainstorming about ways to bring authors into the classroom and I may be teaching a novel writing class this spring," Gilmore said. "And we may organize after school book clubs--partnering each club with a member of the Not So Rapid Ringgold Readers book club. Love the inter-generational blending."

In addition to blog posts that chronicle the ongoing efforts of Ringgold Reads, frequent updates appear on a Facebook page, where the enthusiasm for reaching each goal and a sense of momentum are readily apparent. Here's a sampling from yesterday morning:

(22 hours ago) Our next focus is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. We still need copies of each book in this amazing trilogy! It only took us 2 weeks to reach our goal for To Kill a Mockingbird, let's see how quickly we can complete this one!

(14 hours ago) Thanks to donations from Communities in Schools, we have met our goal for Catching Fire and Mockingjay--but we still need more copies of The Hunger Games!

(About an hour ago) Wow--thanks to individual donations and Communities in Schools we have ALREADY met our goal for the entire Hunger Games Trilogy! Thank you so much to each person who donated!

A single sentence on the project's website beautifully sums up the Ringgold Reads philosophy: "We are embracing this opportunity to rebuild and rehabilitate our community with an emphasis on literacy and the joy of reading and writing."

Sometimes all you can do is help.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hunger Games Goal Met!

In just one night, thanks to the help of individual donors and Communities in Schools, our needs for every book in the Hunger Games trilogy has been met!  Words cannot express how blown away we are by the generosity of our friends and supporters across the country, including major donors such as Random House, Inc. and Communities in Schools and individual donors from Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, and Florida.  Please check out our How to Help page to see which books we still need and remember, we are accepting donations of any size - every single book helps.  Unless otherwise noted, we need 70 copies of each book for RHS and 35 copies of each book for RMS. 

Thank you again to everyone who donated a copy of the Hunger Games, and to Communities in Schools for helping us meet this goal in an amazingly short period of time.  We're moving right along to our next featured book, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amazing News!

We are so thrilled to announce that our goal has been met for copies of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  This is the first book we chose to focus on as we try to fill the needs of RHS and RMS.  Due to donations from Communities in Schools, organized by Jayme Elliot, and the individual donations we received from bloggers, tweeters, and friends, we now have 79 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird on their way to students at RHS.  We are overwhelmed by how quickly we reached the goal and your amazing generosity! 

So, what's next for Ringgold Reads?  Well, we still have many books to gather!  Our next focus book for donations will be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  We've met our goal for the second two books in the series, but we still need copies of the first.  If you've read The Hunger Games you know what an amazing book it is and what an impact it can have on those who read it.  In the next few days you'll be reading a lot about The Hunger Games on our site - please consider donating a copy of the book, especially if it's a book that moved you!  And if you have a story about how the book has impacted you, we'd love to share it.  Contact me at ringgoldreads@gmail.com to work out the details on getting it posted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thank you, Random House, Inc!

We announced this amazing gift from Random House, Inc. on our Facebook page earlier, but want to dedicate a special post to our friends there who have blessed us beyond what we could have asked for.  Random House, Inc. generously donated complete book sets of more than 20 titles to the English classes and libraries at Ringgold High School and Ringgold Middle School. 

Mark Pierce, head of the English Department at RHS had this to say when he heard the news, "I still cannot process this amazing gift to our department and to our students. I, too, am 'overwhelmed.' I literally have tears in my eyes." 

Ringgold Reads cannot thank Random House, Inc. enough for their generous donation and their support of our efforts to restock the books lost in the tornados.  We also hope that their generosity will inspire others to give in whatever ways they can.  Check out our How to Help page to see how you can participate in putting books in the hands of students who desperately need them.  Thank you Random House, Inc. for setting an amazing example of caring about this community and the importance of literature in the classroom!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Welcome to Ringgold Reads!

On April 27, 2011 Ringgold, Georgia, along with several other towns in North Georgia and the Chattanooga area, was hit by an EF-4 tornado, in which nine people were killed.  Two of those killed were Ringgold High School students.  In addition both Ringgold High School and Ringgold Middle School were severely damaged.

Ringgold Reads is a group of authors, bloggers, and community members who are committed to a long-term effort to rebuild the community with a particular emphasis on Ringgold Middle School and Ringgold High School.  We are embracing this opportunity to rebuild and rehabilitate our community with an emphasis on literacy and the joy of reading and writing.  For more about each of us, click on the About Us tab at the top of the page.

While we plan to work with the schools and communities throughout the rebuilding process, our initial project is to meet the immediate needs of the school's library and classrooms.  In order to do this, we have worked with school officials to create a list of books that the school needs immediately to fulfill teacher's curricular requirements and to restock their classrooms.  We are asking anyone who is able to help us get these books into the classrooms in one of three ways:

1) Buy a book from the list below and send it to:

Mark Pierce
RHS English Department Head
29 Tiger Trail
Ringgold, GA 30736

If you do this, please send us an email at RinggoldReads@gmail.com so we can put you on our Honor Roll and keep track of what books are still needed.

2)  Make a donation so that we can buy the book for you

Checks should be made out to First Centenary United Methodist Church.  Be sure to put Ringgold Reads in the memo line.  Checks can be mailed to:
419 MCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN
3)  Purchase a book from Aaron's Books, an independant book store in Pennsylvania over the phone and they'll ship it to us.  717-627-1990 or email them at sales@aaronsbookonline.com

At the end of this post, there is a list of needed books.  You can also find the list, along with a continually updated number of what has been donated on our How To Help page.  To fully stock the classrooms and library, we need 70 copies of each title listed, although all 70 copies do not need to come from any one person.  We ask that you send what you can.  Because we are donating to a Title 1 school, we ask that books be new or in like new condition. 

We also ask that you spread the word about Ringgold Reads.  You can promote us in a number of ways:

1) Like us on Facebook
2) Follow us on Twitter: @RinggoldReads
3) Follow our blog
4) Spread the word by posting on your own Facebook wall, Tweeting about us, or posting on your blog.  (See our Media Mentions page for bloggers who are already posting).

We appreciate any and all support and look forward to blessing the town of Ringgold, and especially the schools, throughout the entire process of rebuilding.  Keep checking the site for more updates on donations, how you can help, and our future activities, as well as information on the city of Ringgold and the students at the schools.

What We Need:
Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES (2 donated)
Rand’s ANTHEM (1 donated)
Harper’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (6 donated)
Kinsella's SHOELESS JOE 
Sparks’ A WALK TO REMEMBER (3 donated)
Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA (1 donated)
Hamilton’s MYTHOLOGY
Collins’ THE HINGER GAMES (3 donated)
Welding With Children - Tim Gautreaux
Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw (2 donated)
Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
The Spellman Files - Lisa Lutz
Paper Towns - John Green
The Great Wide Sea - M.H. Herlong
The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane (3 donated)
Staying Fat for Sarah Burns – Chris Crutcher
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Adventures of Ulysses – Bernard Evslin
Animal Farm (request fulfilled)
As I Lay Dying (request fulfilled)
Heart of Darkness (request fulfilled)
Frankenstein (request fulfilled)
Dracula (request fulfilled)
Hamlet (request fulfilled)
MacBeth (request fulfilled)
Oedipus Rex (request fulfilled)
Antigone (request fulfilled)
The Hiding Place (request fulfilled)
Invisible Man (request fulfilled)
A Day No Pigs Would Die (request fulfilled)
A Raisin In the Sun (request fulfilled)
Great Expectations (request fulfilled)
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen (request fulfilled)
Tuesdays with Morrie (request fulfilled)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing (request fulfilled)
The House on Mango Street (request fulfilled)

7th Grade Math
     Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (3 donated)
     Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
6th Grade Science
     The Legend of Zooey - Candi Moonshower (request fulfilled)
     Stranded - Ben Mikaelson
     Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (3 donated)
7th Grade Science
     The Number Devil - Hans Magnus Enzenberger
     Eva (request fulfilled)
     Catching Fire (Hunger Games Trilogy) - Suzanne Collins (1 donated)
     Mockingjay (Hunger Games Trilogy) - Suzanne Collins (1 donated)
7th Grade Social Studies
     Other Side of Truth - Beverly Naidoo
 Grade Social Studies
     The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (request fulfilled)
Gifted Department
     Gifted Hands - Ben Carson
     The Talent Code - Daniel Coyle (request fulfilled)
7th and 8th Grade Math
     Hot X: Algebra Exposed - Danica McKellar
     Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail