Apply for the 2015 grant here.


In 2012, Penny Kittle, a 30 year teaching veteran, author and national speaker, was moved by a letter from a former student about spending her own money to purchase books in order to build her classroom library. An idea was planted. She knew that so many teachers across the country were doing the same thing. She wanted to support the teachers willing to sacrifice to give their students access to good books. Last year, The Book Love Foundation was born.

Book Love Foundation Logo

“The mission of The Book Love Foundation is to help secondary level teachers develop a life-long love of reading in their students by providing libraries of highly engaging independent reading books to use in their teaching. Research has repeatedly shown that students who read independently and extensively improve their vocabulary and ability to understand complex texts, and are better prepared for the rigors of post-secondary education.” -Penny Kittle

It started with a grant application and three libraries donated – one from Penny and her husband, Patrick, one from Heinemann and one from Booksource. Three teachers from around the country received 500 brand new books for their classroom. Being moved by so many of the applications, the Foundation was able to donate an additional five $500 libraries.

This year was the first full year of fundraising for the Foundation. On top of the three libraries, they were able to raise enough money for seven additional 500-book classroom libraries and another five $500 certificates.

Winners of the 500-book library receive 400 recommended titles from Penny that represent a wide variety of genres and reading levels. The last 100 titles are chosen by the teachers (and students!) that will be receiving them. Working with the winners on building their lists, I feel lucky. These teachers put so much work into making sure they are choosing the best books for their students and can’t wait to get them into their hands. Their excitement is contagious, and their passion is inspiring.

Penny has also noticed their passion, reporting, “Each of our grant winners has already demonstrated a commitment to developing students’ independent reading lives. Most of our grant winners teach in high poverty areas, and all of our grant winners have spent their own money to purchase books to build their libraries; one even traded her children’s old clothes to get books for her classroom library.”

Classroom Library


This year, the ten libraries are granted to:

Terri Burg, a 15-year veteran teacher from Grass Lake Middle School in Grass Lake, Michigan.
Melissa Cournia, in her 9th year of teaching at Standing Rock Middle School in Fort Yates, North Dakota
Kevin English, a 3rd year teacher from Wayne Memorial High School in Wayne, Michigan
Kelcey Grogan, a second-year teacher from Southeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan.
Diane Hamilton, also a 3rd year teacher from Bradshaw Mountain Middle School in Dewey, Arizona
Rebekah Hess, a 6th year teacher at the Young Adults Project in Leesburg, Virginia
Courtney Johnson, a 13-year veteran teaching at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio
Jennifer Kelly, who has taught for 21 years and is currently at Woodstown Middle School in Woodstown, New Jersey
Serena Kessler, an 18-year veteran teacher from Romulus High School in Romulus, Michigan
Ben Wilkinson, a 5th year teacher at Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tennessee

The $500 finalists are:

Erica Beaton, of Cedar Springs High School in Cedar Springs, Michigan
Joanna McNeal Carden, of Eastside Elementary School in Sparta, Tennessee
Kristinia Haney, of Grapevine-ColleyvilleCollegiate Academy in Hurst, Texas
Katie Sluiter, of Wyoming Junior High School in Wyoming, Michigan
Lori Svatora, of Lincoln North Star High School, in Lincoln, Nebraska

Booksource is proud to be partners with this wonderful organization, spreading the love of reading around the country.


Apply for the 2015 grant here.