The Morris Early Childhood Center doesn’t have any books on squirrels.
Librarian Diane O’Hara said she was embarrassed when teachers assigned a writing project about the rodents.
So she decided to apply for a grant.
Her efforts paid off, and Morris is the only Delaware school to receive a grant from author James Patterson, who has written books such as “Kiss the Girls,” and “Along Came a Spider.” Each book revolves around his title character, Alex Cross.
“The kids come in once a week to pick out a book,” she said. “There are a lot of topics teachers like [students] to write on and we don’t have the resources.”
The grant O’Hara applied for is a partnership between the author and the Scholastic Reading Club. In March they announced they would donate $1.75 million across the nation for libraries to purchase books and other essential reading materials.
Principal Jennifer Hallman said factors such as Common Core requirements and increasingly demanding curriculums contributed to their choice to apply for a grant.
“As we increase the academic rigor in kindergarten and the expectations become a little higher … we’re looking for things that give them a better-rounded experience,” Hallman said.
She’s especially excited that additional books will cater to the diverse student body.
“Over 50 percent of the population is low income here at Morris, so what we find with the students when they come in is that their background knowledge isn’t as great as other students,” Hallman said. “Increasing our nonfiction books will be able to give them a chance to learn about things they probably didn’t know about prior to coming to school.”