How a Political Operative Turned Into an Advocate for Childhood Literacy

JN Ball For Blog Post

Jake Ball and his family

Children’s Bookstore is a financial sponsor of National PTA, and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product, or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Children’s Bookstore has been a proud sponsor of National PTA for two years—we love our partnership.

Being a bit of a newcomer to the PTA universe, many have asked why Children’s Bookstore supports the PTA. The answer to that question is the subject of this blog.

My background is not in books or education advocacy, it is in politics.  I began my career on Capitol Hill and worked in many roles within the Senate and House of Representatives.

One of my jobs was a regional director for a senator in my home state of Idaho. It was there that I had my first experience with the power of books.

The office had a partnership with an organization that provides free books to low-income families. In 2006, I was sent to distribute books at a Dia De Los Ninos event in a little town with a large Hispanic population.

I was highly skeptical that we’d get rid of the books. I was wrong.

Every one of those books was gone before the event was half-over. I was amazed to see children running past free cotton candy to get a new book. The experience changed me forever. I instantly became an advocate for childhood literacy and books.

I quickly joined local literacy groups. They all had great ideas, but very little funding.

To help out, I bought the domain name with the goal to build an online community and store that supports local and national literacy efforts.

Over time, we found that the most successful pathway to raise funds that promote literacy is online book fairs. We’ve held online book fairs from Rhode Island to Saipan with hundreds of organizations of all kinds. If a PTA follows our prescribed program, they earn $1,000 to $2,000 with one person doing about four hours of work over a five week period.

My goal is not to be another discount bookseller on the internet. I am building Children’s Bookstore to be a powerful advocate for literacy and reading.

I want Children’s Bookstore to become an enduring partner with the PTA. Why? Because I know what you know: PTA parents are the greatest force on earth for improving the education of our children.

I am asking that you give online book fairs a try. Our book fairs work for any size PTA organization—state, district, council and individual units.

The online book fair allows a PTA or school to promote reading and raise funds without the labor-intensive routine of a conventional book fair. You can give your local librarian and volunteers a much needed break with an online book fair.

Now that you know a little more about our company, I hope you will consider an online book fair for your PTA organization, no matter the size.

Jake Ball is the founder of Children’s Bookstore.

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