CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – The kids at Grove-R Daycare and Pre-school received a special delivery this morning.
Two boxes of used and unused children’s books were dropped off at the child care facility by Melissa Derby, the founder and president of the non-profit organization, Read UP Bookmobile.
“I have between five to ten thousand books probably in my house and my garage, and now they’re kind of spilling into my dad’s house,” said Derby.
Derby has delivered thousands upon thousands of books to Upper Peninsula schools, organizations, and individuals since she first started in 2018.
“I went to a thrift store and they were going to throw away the books and I said, ‘No, don’t throw them away, I’ll find a home for them.’ And from that point on, they used to call me up and I would take them to veterans homes, nursing homes. And I would put tables out beside my house and just put on Facebook ‘Free books, come and get them.’ And the next thing I know, I was getting calls from all over the place asking me to pick up books or if I had certain books, and I would just drop them off,” said Derby.”
Books have always been very special to Derby since she was a young girl.
“You would call me a book worm. I always had a book in my hand. I was a “Nancy Drew” reader. I loved my “Nancy Drew’s” growing up. Books: you could ask a perfect stranger and come up with a conversation just on books just by saying ‘What was your favorite book growing up as a child?’ And you could probably have a whole conversation on that subject and make a friend.”
With March being National Reading Month, Derby hopes that dropping off books at places like Grove-R Daycare and Pre-school will encourage children to pick up a book and put down the tablets and phones. By providing free books to community members with the Read UP Bookmobile, it has turned into something so much more than Derby could have imagined.
“Happy isn’t actually a big enough word, it’s more like ecstatic because when someone finds their love for something you can just open doors for that child or that person.”