By focusing on history books chronicling the lives of important figures, Books-A-Million bookseller Kevin Letterio convinced shoppers to spend more than $1,700 to benefit the Manatee County School District’s elementary and middle school libraries.
Letterio was the top bookseller at the 14th Street West storefront, followed closely by bookseller John Norris, who sold $1,500 worth of books for the schools. In total, the store donated 419 books valued at more than $4,000 Monday morning.
“I grabbed books I liked as a kid,” Letterio said during a donation ceremony.
During the donation drive, a cart of books aimed at elementary and middle school students sat by the checkout counters. Booksellers were also able to select a few of their favorites to bring up to the counter, and asked customers if they’d consider buying and donating a book. Buyers could pick their own from the cart or from the selection the booksellers brought to the counter.
Every child should have a book in their hands.
Adam Orenstein, Books-A-Million manager, donation coordinator
Letterio, a self-described history buff, focused on the “Who Is...” series, which features different historical figures.
“They see it’s something for positive learning,” Letterio said.
The history books were popular but childhood classics, including titles by Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss, were also big sellers. Book series, including Goosebumps, Captain Underpants and The Magic Tree House — which Superintendent Diana Greene said were popular with her own boys when they were growing up — rounded out the donations.
Once the books are sorted through, they’ll be distributed to schools across the district, said Chandra Horvath, the district’s library media services manager. Some of the classics donated will be able to replace well-worn editions already in school libraries, and others will be able to grow their selection.
“The kids are just so happy, even to see two new books,” Horvath said.