The Detroit Free Press recently featured Bookstock, Michigan’s largest used book and media sale, and how the organization is helping local students. Gardner-White is a proud sponsor of Bookstock! Below is the article written by Rochelle Riley, Columnist at the Detroit Free Press.
Bookstock Has Come a Long Way
When a group of women recruited volunteers, friends and their husbands to coordinate Bookstock, Michigan’s largest used book and media sale, they had no idea that, 12 years later, they would help Nazria Begum become a better writer.
But they did.
Nazria, now an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Davison Elementary/Middle School in Detroit, won the Bookstock Best Essay Award two years ago in a contest that drew entries from fourth-graders throughout the Detroit Public Schools.
Then, Nazria was a shy 9-year-old who spoke rarely or in whispers and wasn’t sure she could write an essay. But with the encouragement of her teacher Michele Pizzo, she penned a story about her favorite character in Judy Blume’s 1972 book “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.” The story is about a boy and his pesky little brother, something Nazria said she understood.
Nazria won. And her life changed.
She was featured on WDIV Local 4. She won the accolades of her friends and school. And she grew.
“It was amazing,” she said in an interview at her school. “It helped me write better, and I can make connections better. It just helped me.”
Pizzo said the change was evident.
Rochelle Riley Detroit Free Press
“Two years ago, we cried at that awards ceremony,” she said. “I have watched her… to see her growth and how much the students can actually write on their own now is wonderful. … To hear her now, even in her speaking, Nazria is so much more eloquent. (The contest) gives them a boost in confidence.”
When I became an honorary chairperson of Bookstock 13 years ago, it was because the proceeds from the sale — whose wares will be on display throughout Laurel Park Place in Livonia beginning Sunday — benefit literacy causes across southeast Michigan. Now in its 14th year, Bookstock and its 800 volunteers have raised more than $1.3 million for education and literacy projects. It runs through May 22.
I continue to be an honorary chair — with my counterpart Neal Rubin from the Detroit News — because Bookstock also honors words and writers and that special relationship between teachers and students.
Like Nazria, Bookstock continues to grow. The eight-day event features special prizes and guests, special sales and those more than 100,000 books, CDs, magazines and albums (Yes, real vinyl.) But the most important new thing it does is salute teachers and students.
That celebration, Teacher Appreciation Day, is next Tuesday when Bookstock will award the B.E.S.T (Bookstock Extraordinary Student/School Teacher) Award to the student who penned this year’s winning essay. As in the past, the student, teacher and school will get cash prizes. But every teacher can get something Tuesday. Teachers with a valid ID can buy their selections for 50% off from 3 to 9 p.m.
Contest coordinator Judy Robinson is leading the search for this year’s Nazria Begum.
“I love the writing we get, the range of the writing,” said Robinson, who sat in on Nazria’s interview because she loves following her young writer and partly because she was a kindergarten teacher at Davison 40 years ago and still tutors there twice a week.
“The books that they choose to read and write about reflect on their own lives and lessons they’ve learned from the stories,” she said. “I get chills reading these essays. I taught kindergarten, so to read what fourth-graders are writing is awesome to me.”
As for Nazria, she graduated from Judy Blume to Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” series. And Nazria, who thought about “being a teacher, maybe” two years ago now is considering becoming an author. Her first book, she said, would be a memoir.
Her story now includes a flashback to winning an essay contest, which came with tears from her teacher, a trophy, a $100 cash prize and a $500 gift card from the contest’s sponsor, the furniture store, Gardner-White. She remembers exactly how she spent the money. She went on a shopping spree for her birthday with her $100. And the furniture store gift card?
“We bought a couch,” she said, “because my little brother ruined the old one.”
IF YOU GO
Bookstock launches with a pre-sale at 8:15 a.m. Sunday at Laurel Park Place, 6 Mile Road east of I-275, in Livonia. Admission is $20 for the presale from 8:15 to 11 a.m. The free public sale opens at 11 a.m. and runs through May 22.
More information: bookstockmi.org
Please visit the original story on freep.com. http://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2016/05/10/bookstock-has-come-long-way/84189462/