Kirkland student gives books instead of receiving birthday presents | First Book

Kirkland student Maguire Brooke gave books in help other kids instead of receiving presents for his 7th birthday. - Contributed photo
Kirkland student Maguire Brooke gave books in help other kids instead of receiving presents for his 7th birthday.
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Katie Townsend

Special to the Reporter

Community School first grader and Kirkland resident Maguire Brooke loves to read. He loves books and all he wanted for his 7th birthday was to give books to kids who didn’t have any.

“Are you sure you don’t want presents?” asked his mom, Joy Brooke, before she sent out the invitation to his birthday party. The invitations encouraged guests not to bring birthday gifts but instead to donate to First Book Seattle, a non-profit that gets books to kids who need them in King County.

“Yes, I am sure! I can’t believe kids don’t have books," he replied. "If you don’t have books, how can you read, and if you can’t read, how can you learn?”

Each guest that attended Maguire’s birthday party donated using an online Virtual Book Drive. Thanks to Maguire’s family and friends, he raised more than $500, giving 200 books.

First Book Seattle worked to match Maguire with a program where the books would make a difference. The organization found Viewlands Elementary. It is a Title 1 school in north Seattle where more than 65 percent of students receive a free or reduced-price lunch.

The $500 grant was given to two second-grade classrooms to provide a starter library of six books to each child. Titles included some of Maguire’s favorites, including the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne and The Diary of A Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

Maguire got to share his love for reading and books by distributing his books to students at Viewlands Elementary on March 5. Maguire shared why he loves to read before the students went "shopping for their books."

"It was awesome,” Maguire said. “I’m the proudest person on earth.”

“The kids were so into their books … some of them carried a book around all the rest of the day and they’re still bringing books out to recess,” said teacher Meredith Lewis.

First Book Seattle is the local chapter of a national organization that has been giving books to kids across the United States for more than 20 years. It works to serve the more than 66,000 children in King County who live below the poverty line by working with Title 1 schools. The organization distributes the books and find ways to use them in a mission to eradicate illiteracy.

“We’re so thrilled that Maguire’s birthday wish of giving the gift of reading came true," said co-chair of First Book Seattle Jody Dorrow. "And we hope that with the books these 7 year olds will be able fulfill their dreams too.”

If you would like to learn more about First Book Seattle, how you can contribute or help in creating your own virtual book drive, contact us at seattle@firstbook.org or visit www.firstbook.org/seattle.

Katie Townsend is the communications chair at First Book Seattle.

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