Book Buddies provides free books for SAISD students in grades PK-8, allowing them to start and grow their own libraries at home. The program provides engaging, grade-level appropriate reading materials for children to read at critical times, like after school and in the summer. Book Buddies organizes drives to collect children’s books throughout San Antonio and the surrounding area. Since 2017 the international book reseller, Better World Books, has donated tens of thousands of books which volunteers sort and box up for distribution.
As a Title I school district, nearly 90% of San Antonio ISD students are economically disadvantaged—almost double the poverty rate when compared to the average Texas student. Because of this, many of the children in the Title I schools where Book Buddies is active come from homes with few or no books.
Every spring Book Buddies’ annual “Book Celebrations” provide books to each child in these schools. The intent is to limit the “summer slide” children tend to experience when not in school, enabling them to become readers for pleasure and proud book owners. Additionally, others in the family and neighborhood may read the books, thus multiplying the effects of the initial gift. The ultimate goal is to eliminate those “book deserts” in San Antonio by flooding neighborhoods with children’s books.