If you’ve read my books, you’ve visited the neighborhood where I live. Cass, Jemmie, Ben, Justin, Anna, and the rest may be fictional characters, but they’re usually based on real kids who live around the corner or just next door. Stuff happens in my books. Stuff happens in the real neighborhood, too. June 2015 marks the beginning of the seventh year of our biggest neighborhood project so far, The Front Porch Library!
Our library had a sad beginning. My father, who lived across the street from me, passed away. I really didn’t want to sell his house, but who needs two houses? Some neighbors and I came up with an idea. If it is really easy for kids to get their hands on books, maybe they’ll read more. And the idea grew from there.
We have more than 3000 catalogued books in our collection—all of them donated. Books come from friends, neighbors, other authors, my publisher, and local church groups. In addition to checking out books, we have loads of fun programs. Our zany Sunday programs have included: pizza making, sword fighting on the lawn, a magic show, “nature neighbors” about the biology of our neighborhood, quilt making, and camping skills. The library is loved by adults as well. During library hours you can always find an adult knitting or working on a puzzle with a kid. It’s been a great community builder!
We have also helped establish a similar library at Hope Community, a local shelter for homeless women and their children.