All it took was one book, one North Lincoln High School senior dedicated to literacy and the efforts of one middle school to equal more than 4,000 books. Students at North Lincoln Middle School just finished a one school, one book project wherein all of the students at the school read one book. In this book, “The miscalculations of Lightening Girl,” by Stacy McAnulty, the school that the main characters attend promoted a community service project.
“Typically, when we do a one school, one book project, we have some sort of whole school project,” Dr. Laurie Dymes said. “We were looking at what project to do within the parameters of COVID given we can’t have volunteers coming in and out. I shared the Outreach with Literacy (“OWL”) project that my daughter has been working on and the staff and students got completely behind it.”
Dymes’ daughter, Meghan, a North Lincoln senior started working with the Lincoln County Department of Social Services on an OWL project approximately two and a half years ago after Meghan had read a story about foster care children needing suitcases.
“It really touched her heart,” Dymes said. “She started to think about what else foster children specifically wouldn’t have and as an avid reader she wanted to put books in their hands. Her goal was 100 new books for the foster care children.”
A little more than 4,000 books were collected throughout the month of October with a few collected in November. On Tuesday, Meghan delivered all the new books to DSS.
“I’ve always loved to read,” she said. “Books have always brought a sense of home for me. I bring them with me when I travel. For a foster kid to have a book with them 24/7 is good.”
The DSS can only accept new books, but all the gently used books that were collected will be delivered to the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center and some will be recycled back through Lincoln County Schools.
At North Lincoln Middle School, the winning home base will receive a donut and juice party.
“It’s been great,” Principal Brandon Finger said. “The response has been excellent. Anything that we can do to get books in kid’s hands, we’ve done something to help them.”
The books haven’t just been collected through North Lincoln Middle School. Other schools within the district have got on board.
“One school, one book is a great project to get all of the kids in the school on the same page with something,” Finger said. “Every student in the school got a copy of the same book. When you have almost 800 kids reading the same book, it’s powerful. A sixth-grade student could talk to an eighth-grade student on the bus about it. Or a seventh grader could talk to a sibling who’s in another grade about it. It helps them to make connections. It’s also a community thing too.”
Keeping track of all of the books coming in and which home room was responsible for them took effort. Bailey Wolf helped the NLMS librarian handle the books. She became one of the more popular students at the school because everyone wanted to know which room was in the lead. This is Wolf’s second one school, one book project while at North Lincoln Middle.
“Our original goal was 500 books, but we’ve far exceeded that which is crazy,” she said. “I never thought we could do that. I’m glad these books are going to a good cause. It’s hard to imagine kids not having books. I feel like since they have the books, it’ll make their lives easier because a bunch of them don’t have the easiest lives.”
There was no intention of doing a book drive at North Lincoln Middle until after the students had started to read the book.
“There were also other projects in the book they did like ‘Fibonacci’ art which a bunch of them did,” Finger said. “Their work is hung in the hall.”
The main character in “The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl,” Lucy, got struck by lightning which gave her supernational math powers. Everything that Lucy looks at are numbers and sequences. The Fibonacci sequence is one of the most famous formulas in mathematics. The swirl pattern of a sunflower is an example of a Fibonacci sequence in nature.
“That Lucy found it hard to fit in with her peers because of her mathematical abilities brings in the whole ‘where do I fit in’ piece,” Finger said. “If nothing else, what’s what we deal with on a daily basis in middle school. Kids trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. It’s a whole roundabout way of getting information to kids and allowing them to do things and take part in a project that’s bigger than themselves.”
The Lincoln County Department of Social Services is always in need of donations like new books, clothing and yes, suitcases. For more information, call (704) 732-0738.