Foundation News

Dec 28, 2015

Book Love Foundation Announces 2015 Winners

The Book Love Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded its 25th classroom library this year. Since 2013 the Book Love Foundation has given $100,000 in grants for books to classroom teachers. Twelve libraries were awarded to middle and high school English Language Arts teachers from ten different states in 2015, and, for the first time, one library was awarded to a Canadian teacher.

The twelve libraries were granted to:

  • Amanda Abernathy, a middle school teacher from Cherry Street School in Bridgeton, New Jersey
  • Amy Dunmire and Emily Partyka, both teaching grades 8, 9, and 10 at MarionHarding High School school in Marion, Ohio. Both teachers were selected independently as finalists and will share one library.
  • Julie Fout and Sarah Mandish, teaching grades 9-12 at Hilliard Bradley High Schoolin Hilliard, Ohio. Again, both teachers were selected independently as finalists, and will share one classroom library for their school.
  • Amy Korst, grades 9-12 from Willamina High School in Willamina, Oregon
  • Amy Marshall, grades 9-12 from St. Malachy’s Memorial High School in St. John, New Brunswick (our first Canadian!)
  • Claire Gibson, grades 9-11 from Adams City High School in Commerce City, Colorado
  • Colleen Kiley, grades 9-12, from Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School in Bristol, Vermont
  • Jodie Kahler, grade 8, from North Central Middle School in Kershaw, South Carolina
  • Kimberly Parker, grades 10-12, from Boston Cambridge, Rindge & Latin School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Laura Baisden, grade 9-12 from Logan Senior High School in Logan, West Virginia
  • Lynn Hagen, grades 9-12 from Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri
  • Schuyler Kidd, grades 7-8 from Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley, Pennsylvania

“Each of these teachers will receive a 500 book library of titles selected by the teacher from a wide variety of books carefully chosen to engage adolescentreaders,” said Penny Kittle, President and Founder of the Book Love Foundation. “The Foundation works with Booksource to select books which cover a wide range of genres that are of high interest to student readers,” said Kittle. “The books are then chosen by the grant winner and students from our curated list of titles.”

The mission of the Book Love Foundation is to help teachers engage all students in reading by providing libraries of highly engaging independent books to supplement their curriculum. “Research has repeatedly shown that students who actively read improve their vocabulary and are better prepared for the rigors of post-secondary education,” notes Kittle.

Penny Kittle has extensive experience in this field, having written seven books on the teaching of reading and writing with her publisher, Heinemann. Her book Write Beside Them won the James N. Britton award from the National Council of Teachers of English in 2009, and she spends about half of each year consulting domestically and internationally with schools looking to improve their reading and writing instruction. The other halfof the year she teaches English at Kennett High School, in North Conway, New Hampshire. She was awarded the 2015 Exemplary Leader Award from the Conference on English Leadership of the National Council of Teachers of English.

“Each of our grant winners has demonstrated a commitment to developing a reading habit in even the most reluctant reader. Most of our grant winners teach in high poverty areas, and all of our grant winners have spent their own money to purchase books to build their libraries,” reported Kittle. “We want to support their hard work and their dedication to young readers.”

The Book Love Foundation received 190 grant applications in 2015 from across the United States and Canada. In addition to the granting of twelve classroom libraries, the Foundation also awarded five grants of $500 each to be used to augment the classroom libraries already started by:

  • Beth Hughes, a high school teacher at Wakefield Memorial High School in Wakefield, Massachusetts
  • Jennifer Kavaney, a teacher in grades 9-12 from Horizon High School in Thornton, Colorado
  • Brian Kelley, a grade 8 teacher, from Charles F. Patton Middle School in Landenberg, Pennsylvania
  • Karlen Shupp, grades 9-12 from Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Connecticut
  • Jared Leaman, grade 6, from Goshen Middle School in Goshen, Indiana
  • Melissa Sawyer, grades 10 & 12, from Martin Luther King, Jr. Career Campus in Cleveland, Ohio

“The Book Love Foundation is grateful for the on-going support of Booksource and Heinemann Publishing, two of our primary benefactors, both of which have donated a full library each of our first three years. In addition, Booksource provides deeply discounted prices to the Foundation, allowing us to stretch our donations as far as possible when choosing books for our libraries,” stated Kittle.

For more information on this year's winners, or to help the foundation with a donation, please visit