Donation of 4,000 new books for students at Owens Cross Roads School

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Reading is vital for students. It can teach them things, help them excel in other subjects and take them to fun, imaginary places. But most importantly, reading should be fun! A local librarian went to great lengths to make sure all 400 students at Owens Cross Roads School get the chance to fall in love with reading.

Owens Cross Roads School students are receiving something special.

"As far as we know, this has never been done in our county before," says Dona Thompson, the school's library media specialist. "We are over the moon excited about it."

Every month, every child gets a new book.

"The math on that is 400 kids at our school, 10 months, 4,000 books in one school year," explains Thompson.

The books are not just to check out of the library, they will belong to the children.

"All of our kids don't have books," says Thompson. "We're a Title 1 school and we really want the kids to have books that they can call their own."

Now, the students will own their own books thanks to Thompson's tenacity and a generous donation by Mark and Henri McDaniel. Mark McDaniel says they have a deep appreciation for teachers.

"I know how they dedicate their lives to their students and Dona presented this and I think it's a wonderful idea," says McDaniel.

McDaniel, who's been practicing law for 42 years, says his family's humble beginnings drive his desire to give back.

"I've been poor," shares McDaniel. "If you've been poor, you understand it and you want to help people."

The hope is that helping in this way will resonate with the kids and reading becomes a lifelong love.

"The more you read, the more you succeed," says Thompson. "We think that in the long-term, this will have a positive impact on our community."

The idea came about after Thompson saw something in an online chatroom.  Someone asked for $1 a month from parents to get new books for one class. Thompson made it her mission to do it for the whole school.