Book’em’s executive director of 12 years, Melissa Spradlin, stands with children’s book author and one of the car decorating contest judges, Mary Morgan Ketchel, with her new book, Camilla Can Vote.

NASHVILLE, TN — During the week of Sept. 21–26, community members came together to donate over 10,000 new or like-new children’s books and raise $43,000 in donations for The Big Book DRIVE, hosted by children’s literacy nonprofit Book’em.

All donations support Book’em’s mission to get books into the hands of Nashville kids who dream of being book owners. Children growing up in homes with at least 20 books will stay in school nearly three years longer than children growing up with no books in their home, not taking into account parent’s education, occupation and socioeconomic status.

Book’em supports making literacy growth and ongoing learning a reality for children across Nashville. Through the Reading Is Fundamental program, Book’em is able to provide books and reading role models for students in more than 250 Metro Nashville Public Schools elementary classrooms.

To celebrate Book’em’s Big Book DRIVE, on Saturday, Sept. 26, members of the Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville Public Schools representatives and Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle participated in a parade of Magic School Bus-themed cars filled with book donations.

Lisa Spencer with News 4, Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show, local author Mary Morgan, and award-winning Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton judged the car parade to chose the best themed car. In addition, we awarded Metro Nashville Police Department the winner of the Battle of Badges!

To learn more about Book’em and ways to get involved, please visit online at

Several members of the MNPS executive committee enthusiastically helped Book’em kick off the car parade. In this photo, Chief of Human Resources Chris Barnes, drives Chief of Student Support Services Michelle Springer, through the car parade.
The Nashville Fire Department officers wave at car parade guests. The NFD also participated in the Battle of the Badges book drive competition, collecting over 500 books for Book’em.
MNPD School Resource officers, led by Sgt. Blue (far left), unload over 13,000 books they collected throughout the week through the Battle of the Badges book drive competition. The SROs are helped by volunteer Shalom Watkins, and MNPD officer Sgt. McElwee.
Book’em Board Member, Mary Ferrara, greets car parade guests with an inspirational quote about reading.
Volunteers Laquanda Gooch, left, and Andrel Mallone stand with the display representing the 16 Title I elementary schools Book’em serves through its Reading is Fundamental program.