Five hundred new and almost-new Spanish, English and bilingual books have recently been distributed to children under 5 in the Sonoma Valley, thanks to Crescent Montessori School’s annual 500 Books campaign.

Crescent families made donations of like-new books and funds to purchase new books. Students, staff and parents worked together to organize and deliver books to five community partners in Sonoma, including the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center and La Luz. These community partners give the books to kids under 5 after well-child check-ups or other visits.

“I wish you could see the childrens’ faces light up when they get to choose a book to take home,” said Sonoma Plaza Pediatrics practice manager Noelia De Torres.

Inspired by similar programs across the nation and the focus on community service in Montessori education, Crescent started the 500 Books program in 2017.

Their purpose was simple: give 500 books, via five community partners, to children under 5 in Sonoma.

Crescent’s Head of School Karin Niehoff says of the program, “500 Books is one small way Crescent walks the walk when it comes to valuing early childhood education, childhood literacy and equity in our community. Through the simple act of giving a book to a child, we add our strength to the critically important issue of early childhood literacy.”

The 500 Books team at Crescent is already planning the 2019 program, which will kick off next January. For more information, visit crescentmontessori.com/giving/#five_hundred_books.