November 18, 2014 – Woodbridge, Va. – Last month, Prince William County, Manassas City and Manassas Park elementary schools received an early holiday gift. Sixty-seven schools received a total of 520 children’s books donated by the Prince William SPCA through its PWSPCA Youth program. The cost of the books was valued at more than $6,000. “Books about animals are one of the most requested topics in our library, so I know they will be used a lot,” said the school librarian at Ellis Elementary School in Manassas. “The eight hardback books are welcome additions to our library collection. Since our school is only ten years old, we have a limited number of library books and materials. Thanks to generous donations by (the PWSPCA), we are able to meet the needs of our students and teachers.”
Part of the Prince William SPCA’s mission is to help teach children about pet adoption, caring for pets, and the importance of being compassionate to animals. The donated books have been selected to support this mission through education. The stories offer many opportunities for developing empathy and for follow-up writing as students learn about companion animals and think critically about what they have read. The books are beautifully illustrated, communicate a positive age-appropriate message and include important nonfiction information to supplement and extend the educational impact of the story. Some of the titles include A Home for Dakota by Jan Zita Grover, “Let’s Get a Pup!” said Kate by Bob Graham and Maggie’s Second Chance by Nancy Furstinger.
“It is very important for children to understand that animals have thoughts, needs, and feelings,” states Prince William SPCA board member Carol Litchfield, who oversaw the donation process and worked directly with the schools on this project. She adds, “These stories draw the reader into the lives of their animal characters, providing a wonderful avenue for instilling empathy in children. When teachers and librarians share the books with groups of students, the children can discuss what they think the animals in the stories are feeling. I would especially like to thank Bambi Minner, Librarian of Penn Elementary School in Woodbridge, for her valuable guidance and hands-on help with every step of the donation process.”
The PWSPCA Youth program offers reading materials, college scholarships, projects and volunteer opportunities for animal lovers who are under the age of 18. Resources are available to parents, teachers, librarians, and scout leaders by visiting http://youth.pwspca.org/.