New study says books at home increases educational attainment

Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.
For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain
Knowing this, Classics Books & Gifts provides FREE books for the home libraries of Trenton kids. Information about the Trenton Books at Home Program, including how to donate, can be found at

Trenton Literature Year in Review: 2013

Pulitzer Prize winning Trentonian Poet Yusef Komunyakaa published Testimony, a collection poetry inspired by Charlie Parker

Trenton Poet Laureate Doc Long had reminiscences published in Volunteers in the African Bush, a collection of essays about the early years of the Peace Corp in Africa

Capital City Open Mic celebrated its one year anniversary in April

The New Jim Crow Committee of Trenton met and discussed Michelle Alexander’s book and mapped out ways to put responses to the book in action.

The Trenton Books at Home Program handed out thousands of books for Trenton kids.

Trenton author and radio host Yolanda Landy Robinson published Don’t Be Bitter Be Better, a book of inspirations.

Trenton author Natasha Buckalious Parker published her poetella, Ah Hood Romance

Trenton author Will Foskey published Poeticine

In November, Trenton author Marie Murf Antionette, author of The Struggle and A Girl Named Job, was bookseller for a day at Classics.

In February, Barbara Keogh became the reigning Classics Scrabble champion.

volunteers sierra leone

Kids DO Read!

Every so often, I run into people who complain that children don’t read books anymore.  These statements are always partly true disappointment, partly self-congratulatory, and partly of that human impulse to mythologize the good old days. 

The truth is that the good old days weren’t all that good.  The overall illiteracy rate in the United States in 1900 was 10.7% (30% for African Americans), according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  100 years later, in 2003, the CIA estimates a 1% illiteracy rate in the United States, thanks to mandated public education and the ongoing battle against discrimination. 

Of course, even if kids are now more able to read, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are reading. 

Turns out the naysayers weren’t finished being wrong.

When I brought 8 boxes of books (of all types—classic lit, mysteries, history, business, science, etc) to Trenton High West and set them in the cafeteria for students to take for free, Shaquasia Fuller (the student who helped organize this) emailed me an hour after lunch to say that all 8 boxes were gone, all voluntarily taken by Trenton High School students (except for one book by Anthony Trollope.  Sorry Anthony!)

For National Night Out, when the Alexis Durlacher of the Trenton Police Department got a box of books to give away to Trenton kids alongside plastic toys provided by NNO, Alexis reported that the books were all gone before the plastic knicknackery.

The Trenton Books at Home Program distributes thousands of books every year to thankful teachers, parents and kids.

So, grumpy people, who long for the good old days, should confine their statements to the price of gas, when poker games that included more variations than Texas Hold ‘em and when Firefly was on the air.

Here’s a repost about a girl who loves to read so much, the library had to order more books because she had read everything on the shelves!