I was intrigued by Mike Cassidy's column in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News. Mike discussed the rare but growing phenomenon of people who give out books, instead of candy, to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. The idea is that, in light of growing concerns about childhood obesity, giving out large quantities of candy doesn't send the right message. Also, of course, the goal is to put books into kids' hands, and hopefully encourage them to become readers. Or, as Mike puts it:
"We're bombarded by studies that say too many kids are obese or that not enough kids love reading. Here's a way to tackle both trends.
So, why not put your candy budget toward picking up like-new books at garage sales and library fundraisers, where Morgan (Rebecca Morgan, who launched the idea) says she can buy trick-or-treaters a book for 20 cents?"
Mike started out skeptical about the idea, but he became convinced upon interviewing several people involved in this movement, and upon talking with some kids. He also asked local first grade teacher Audra Schallberger to poll her class on whether they would prefer to receive a book or candy. The results are available on Mike's blog, and are quite encouraging.
If you are interested in this idea, check out the website for the Willow Glen Business and Professionals Association's annual "Books for Treats" giveaway. Or, try it yourself, and see what happens.