Native Americans who live in the Navajo Nation along the remote borders of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico often have a lack of running water, limited Internet access, and now soaring cases of covid-19.
Elementary schoolchildren have been unable to attend school or take classes online, so a Florida woman has stepped up to help ease the impact of months with no classes: She sent them 1,500 books.
In the past decade, Jennifer Frances has driven a bus from Tampa to the Navajo Nation several times, driving from one isolated outpost to the next to deliver books to kids at more than a dozen schools across the reservation.
So when Frances, founder of the traveling Bess the Book Bus literacy nonprofit, saw a video on Facebook this spring featuring a Utah third-grade schoolteacher traveling long distances to deliver food and learning packets to children isolating because of the pandemic, she decided it was time to get them another round of reading material.
Frances contacted the teacher, Charlene Poyer (she’d met her on a previous trip), and arranged in April to mail a pallet of 1,500 new picture books and juvenile fiction and nonfiction titles for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade at Montezuma Creek Elementary so Poyer and other teachers could distribute them to all 310 students.
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