Bess The Books Bus to return to Houlton

Dawson Hall, 5, of Holden loads up with free books inside Bess the Book Bus on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, in Bangor.
Kate Collins | BDN
Dawson Hall, 5, of Holden loads up with free books inside Bess the Book Bus on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, in Bangor. Buy Photo
By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 18, 2012, at 10:39 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — For the third year in a row, a yellow bus carrying a load of new and used children’s books will stop in Houlton to encourage literacy.

The Aid For Kids Foundation will host Bess the Book Bus from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Millar Civic Center.

The book bus is a mobile literacy outreach that travels across the country giving books to children.

The sunny yellow bus, which carries thousands of new and used children’s books, is driven by Jennifer Frances and her crew, based in Tampa, Fla. Frances, 40, of Tampa cashed in her 401(k) to establish the bus 10 years ago. The bus has done national tours since 2005.

Bess the Book Bus is open to all children and receives books from a number of organizations, including First Book, an international nonprofit that works through existing community programs to provide books for children.

Frances named the bus after her maternal grandmother, who walked to town with her once a week to buy her a new book when she was a child.

When the bus first stopped in Houlton in 2010, children walked away with an estimated 300 books. An even larger number was given out last year.

Dannette Ellis with the Aid for Kids Foundation said that once again this year, the event will include a children’s fair. Anah Temple Shriner clowns will be on hand to help provide entertainment for the children.

Up There Woodturners will be sharing their craft. Brian Hovey, general manager of Pine Tree Waste, and Jim Dunning, assistant general manager, will do a presentation on recycling.

From noon to 1 p.m., the Houlton Fire Department will have its hazard house on display and Katahdin Valley Health Center will have a display highlighting a new dental clinic, sealants and healthy eating. Zumba will be offered with Lura Griffin and Rachel Distephano, Bangor Savings Bank will be available to open new savings accounts and will deposit the first $5, Ark Animal Shelter will have an informational booth, Micmac basket maker Richard Silliboy will have an informational display table, local artist and chess player Roger Morin will introduce children to chess, and there will be free books, games, prizes, a bounce house and food.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/08/18/news/aroostook/bess-the-books-bus-to-return-to-houlton/ printed on July 11, 2014