EL PASO, Texas -- Teachers and parents are searching for ways to keep their students reading while everyone is staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local book publisher Cinco Puntos Press has a solution, launching a program called Shelter in Books.
"We wanted to put in place an actual program so that more teachers could get more books to their classrooms," Cinco Puntos Press publicist Stephanie Frescas Macias told ABC-7 in an interview.
Shelter in Books got started after a teacher asked the publishing house for help getting books for her students at the same time that a donor asked if they could support Cinco Puntos after it closed its doors in compliance with the city's stay home order.
Any donations will cover the cost of the teachers' request, Frescas Macias said, adding that Cinco Puntos is also lowering the price of the donated books by 50%.
Teachers from anywhere in the nation can create a wish list with the publisher, she added.
"One librarian just wants a book that she can read in a video, like story time, and then there's a teacher who wants a set of 20 for her whole classroom and we'll be shipping it to the teacher," said Frescas Macias. "Obviously, the money is a pretty big barrier because we know that teachers are already spending a lot out of pocket for their classrooms and a set of books can add up, so we'd like to help a little bit."
Cinco Puntos isn't just helping teachers. It's also helping students unplug from electronics and get lost in a book.
As any educator and parent knows, it doesn't matter what kids read, as long as they're reading. And according to Frescas, they're getting a lot of requests for one title in particular.
"We have a book called My Pet Rattlesnake by an author named Joe Hayes," Frescas Macias said, smiling as she described the book about a boy who befriends a rattlesnake while on a desert hike. "It's just fun. (Hayes) does tall tales, and it has fun pictures and illustrations.
"I think teachers just want to bring like a fun story to their students right now."