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Update! The Gift of Reading Essay Contest and Book Drive

The Gift of Reading book drive was a big success again this year with all the MHUSD schools getting books for their underserved students. Thank you so much for the donations of books and money and thank you to all the volunteers that help every year including the Morgan Hill AAUW, the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library and all the others volunteers who stepped this help out this year. Thank you, especially to Margaret McCann and Carol O'Hare for their "make it happen" attitude.

The winners of the Essay contest will be posted here by the 15th of Jan.


There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book. —Marcel Proust

Please read more and help us today!

Gift of Reading Essay Contest”

Dear parents and educators,

"The Annual BookSmart Community AdvantageGift of Reading Essay Contest” is now over. This year's theme was “Gratitude"  We invite you to inspire your young writers and encourage them to express their gratitude through the power of words. We are excited to see your child’s or student’s creativity shine!

Contest Details:  

Essay topic: “What are you grateful or thankful for in your lives, and why”

Essay requirements:

  • Word limit: 200-300 words
  • Submit your essay to BookSmart, 421 Vineyard Town Center, open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm, 
  • Please include your name, parents’ names, (teacher’s name if done in class) phone number, email address, school, and grade level.
  • Entries are due by 5pm on November 30.

Winners will be chosen in each of the following grade level groups:

  • 2nd-3rd grade
  • 4th-5th grade
  • 6th-8th grade
  • 9th-12th grade


  • Selected stories will be published in Morgan Hill Life. 
  •  1st Place in each age group wins a $50 BookSmart gift certificate, a writing journal, a certificate of merit and publication of your essay in Morgan Hill Life. (Age groups: 2nd-3rd grade; 4th-5th; 6th-8th; 9th-12th)
  • 2nd Place in each category wins a $25 BookSmart gift certificate and a certificate of merit
  • 3rd Place in each category wins a $10 BookSmart gift certificate and a certificate of merit  

Why Participate?

1. Encourage self-expression and creativity.

2. Foster a sense of gratitude and positivity.

3. Develop essential writing skills.

4. Win exciting prizes!

Teachers’/Parents’ Role:

Your support is crucial in nurturing young writers. Please motivate your children/students, guide them in the writing process, and then submit a copy of their essay to BookSmart by November 30th at 5:00 P.M. Include a cover sheet listing Writer’s Name, grade, teacher’s name, parents’ name(s), phone number, and email address) Entries may be mailed to BookSmart 421 Vineyard Town Center, Morgan Hill, CA  95037., be hand delivered to BookSmart at 421 Vineyard Town Center, or sent in via email to


Let's celebrate gratitude and showcase the talent of your young wordsmiths. Together, we can inspire a sense of gratefulness that will last a lifetime.

For more information, please call BookSmart at 408-778-6467

Thank you for being a part of this journey to cultivate gratitude and writing excellence in our students.

Warm regards,

BookSmart Community Advantage

About the Gift of Reading:

For 25 years, the Gift of Reading Morgan Hill has been a holiday tradition, providing the gift of books to needy and underserved children in the Bay Area. BookSmart Community Advantage, the non-profit foundation associated with local bookstore BookSmart, is once again partnering with other local organizations to sponsor this year’s drive to provide books in the Morgan Hill and San Martin area. The foundation is partnering with the AAUW MH and other local organizations to spread the gift of literacy and love of books to children in our community. 


The organizations are collecting new and like-new books for elementary-age children (grades K to 6) at various collection points (BookSmart 421 Vineyard Town Center). Look for the cheerfully wrapped bins.  The collection deadline is Friday, Dec. 15th, 2023. The books will be distributed by local organizations to underserved children throughout the Morgan Hill Unified School District and to help teachers build classroom libraries for the children they teach — increasing the student’s chances at long-term academic success. In some families these books may be the only holiday gift a child will receive.

As part of this program, BookSmart is offering a 20% discount on books purchased for Gift of Reading. Cash donations are also welcome. BookSmart will provide a list of books to choose from if you need help shopping for just the right books.

Volunteers are also needed to transport books to distribution points and to sort them by age groups and condition. Please contact Cinda or Brad at 408-778-6467 to volunteer or donate.

About BookSmart Community Advantage (BCA):

The mission of BookSmart Community Advantage is to foster literacy and community through reading, writing, art and educational programs. BCA was formed in January 2017. It is part of the Morgan Hill Community Foundation and is closely aligned with BookSmart which has been operating in Morgan Hill for over 25 years. BCA's Signature Program is The Gift of Reading Morgan Hill in partnership with the Friends of the Morgan Hill Library and the Edward Boss Prado Foundation. The program gives a new or like-new book, and thus the gift of literacy and love of books, to children in our community. 

Approval for distribution of these materials does not imply endorsement by the Morgan Hill Unified School District (Board Policy 1325). 



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