book blessings (copy)

A student from Leslie Brightwell’s Kindergarten class shows off one of her book selections to another girl at the Book Blessings book fair in May 2019.

Methodist churches throughout Panola County have kicked-off the second annual Book Blessings project, which distributes free summer reading books to Panola County children.

Organizing churches are collecting donated books through April 24 and will be giving them away at an upcoming book fair to kindergarten and first-grade students at Carthage Primary School, Gary Elementary School and Beckville Sunset Elementary School.

“Although the project was begun by Panola County United Methodist churches, the entire community came together last year for the program,” Book Blessings Chair Paula Carter said.

Last year’s Book Blessings drive provided 2,258 donated books and enough monetary donations to buy two sets of books for each grade level and for 1,300 individual books, Carter said.

The goal of the program is to give each child five books of their choosing based on their grade level and interests. Students will also receive a book bag and two other books provided by Book Blessings.

Donations of books can be made at the following Methodist churches: Deadwood, Rehobeth, Mt. Zion, Bethel, St. Andrew’s, Murvaul, Beckville and First United Carthage. Donation boxes were also planned at Carthage Primary, Beckville Sunset Elementary, Gary Elementary and the Sammy Brown Library.

Monetary donations can be made at First United Methodist Church; make checks out to FUMC Carthage and put Book Blessings on the memo line. Volunteers are welcome. Call First United Methodist Carthage with questions at (903) 693-5227.

“Reading is a skill that affects all facets of a person’s life,” Carter said. “The ability to read well is reflected in all formal education. It is also used every day throughout a person’s adult life in the ability to be self-sufficient. The love of reading is also a lifetime pursuit which opens doors to entertainment and self-fulfillment.”