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Kelly Elementary School first-grade teacher Erin Diem showcases her classroom library. The school, along with two others, is conducting book drives to benefit teachers and students who lost their schools to the Camp fire in Paradise in November. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Book drive to benefit Paradise teachers, students

CARLSBAD — Three city schools are joining the efforts to rebuild Paradise after the Camp fire wiped the small Northern California town off the map in November.

The deadliest wildfire in state history burned through homes, businesses, public facilities and schools.

To help, Ann Pagley, a health technician at Kelly Elementary School, has organized a public book drive from Jan. 14 to Jan. 16 (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. parents, staff, students only; and 2:40 to 6 p.m. for the public) at the school so teachers in Paradise, now scattered throughout Northern California, can rebuild their classroom libraries.

Eight of the nine schools in Paradise were destroyed, leaving just Paradise High School standing but damaged, with an estimated 5,700 students displaced.

Although the teachers and students of Paradise are in other schools, Pagley said the drive is just one way to help bring a sense of normalcy back to those victims.

“You start thinking … these schools were completely wiped out,” she said. “Pretty much all teachers put their own money forward to buy supplies for their classroom. I thought we could help with is their personal classroom library.”

She contacted the Scholastic Corporation, which is assisting with the books to organize the drive. The drive features getting two books for the price of one.

“If you bought one book for $5, you get another book off the shelf for $5 and they both go into the box,” Pagley said. “You’re getting one, but really donating two.”

The focus is on kindergarten through fifth grade, but Pagley said books for other grades will be accepted; however non-scholastic books will also be accepted and new and gently used books will be donated.

For the classroom, early reader and chapter books are of consequence along with science books, Pagley said. The books will also be used for reading comprehension said.

“I really want our parents to think past their kids,” she added. “We will have another book fair in the spring, so they can shop for their kids there. I think it’s a great lesson for the kids. I think all these kids are capable of knowing there are other people in the world of need.”

In addition, cash donations are accepted, which will go to purchase books. Scholastic also offers an e-wallet to purchase books two weeks before Kelly’s drive.

Calavera Hills Middle School and Buena Vista Elementary School are also hosting book drives, but those are reserved for students, parents and staff. Calavera Hills’ drive runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 15 and Jan. 16, while Buena Vista’s drive runs from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and 2:30 to 3 p.m. Jan. 14 to Jan. 16.