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Students ‘Interact’ over love of books

Creative students at the state school of the arts in Brookhaven have found a clever way to get their younger peers to read — give them books that make them laugh.

Mississippi School of the Arts’ Interact Club, part of Rotary Club International, is calling on the community to help buy books for the Mamie Martin Elementary School library for students in kindergarten, first and second grade. The book drive, which continues through Feb. 20, started after the MSA juniors and seniors visited with the younger students as part of a community service project. They wanted to do more than just read to the students, they wanted to foster a love of reading and give them plenty of books to choose from.

“Students come over and they read to the kids. It’s extremely important,” said Principal Danny Rushing. “Our focus at Mamie Martin is to teach children to read so when they leave Mamie Martin, they’re good, independent readers so they can be successful as they move on through school.”

When MSA students and others read to the students they want to read more themselves, he said.

Receiving a gift of new, hardbound books is great for the more fluent second-grade readers who may have already flipped through all the pages in their library.

“New books are always welcome,” he said.

That’s where MSA’s Interact Club comes in. They’re hosting a book drive for Mamie Martin and asking for either new or gently used books to be dropped off at MSA or ordered through Amazon to be delivered to the school.

“Last time we were there, we read a book to numerous classrooms, did crafts based on the book, gave a Q & A to the kids,” said MSA Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch. “Afterward, we donated the book to their school library. Now, our next goal is to donate as many children’s books to Mamie Martin Elementary as possible.”

Children’s books can be brought to the Student Life Center at MSA. They should be age-appropriate and less than 10 years old. Hardback books are best for withstanding wear and tear.

The Interact Club has also created an Amazon Wish List called “Mamie Martin Elementary Book Drive” to allow individuals to buy books online and have them shipped to MSA.

“We will collect all the books and deliver to the school,” she said.