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Bernie’s Book Bank strives to distribute age-appropriate, high-interest and culturally relevant books to the children we serve.

Each child receives 8 quality books annually. The books will be new and/or gently used and include a variety of fiction and non-fiction titles, such as picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, mysteries, biographies, science fiction, sports, science, technology and more.

Each book is vetted to ensure it is:

  • Age-appropriate: We serve children from birth to 6th grade and divide our books into five age groups so that children receive books appropriate to their reading and personal development.
    • Early Childhood Programs
    • Preschool to 1st Grade (P/1)
    • 2nd to 3rd Grade (2/3)
    • 4th to 5th Grade (4/5)
    • 6th Grade (6)
  • High-interest: Books that entice children to read them. Books that are visually appealing and include engaging themes and topics.
  • Culturally relevant: Books that include a variety of settings and characters from all backgrounds.


Book Advisory Council

The Book Advisory Council shapes Bernie’s Book Bank’s guiding philosophy on the kinds of books to source and distribute. Members include literacy experts, school librarians, educators, experienced volunteers and book industry executives and bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Council.

Council Members

  • Maggie Binz – Librarian, Jefferson Elementary School
  • Jackie De Leo – VP, Disney Book Group Sales at Disney Publishing Worldwide
  • Jane Fleming – Director of Literacy, Chicago Public Schools
  • Rita Gertie – Teacher, Cullen Elementary School; 50 Hour Club Member – Bernie’s Book Bank
  • Kennan Marsh – Senior Research Fellow, AbbVie; 50 Hour Club Member – Bernie’s Book Bank
  • Valerie McCall, EdD, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Cary District 26
  • Sasha Quinton – Executive Vice President, Scholastic Corporation, and President, Scholastic Book Fairs
  • Yesenia Sanchez – Chief Academic Officer, North Chicago Community Consolidated Unit School District 187
  • Tinaya York, PhD – Director of Elementary School Design, Programs and Supports, Chicago Public Schools