About Us

Empowering Southern Arizona's Classrooms with Carefully Chosen Books

In 2018, Books for Classrooms was born out of a vital need. Arizona's teachers spoke up – a decade of dwindling funds had stripped many classrooms of books, art, music, and library resources. This issue persists today, highlighting a critical gap in educational support.

Responding to this call, a dedicated group of retirees from Green Valley, AZ, took action. Their goal was clear: to put educator-reviewed books directly into classrooms, backed by a team of passionate volunteers. For over a year, these retired educators sifted through a range of supplemental books to provide a much-needed boost to learning.

Our mission centers on diversity, peace, social justice, and conflict resolution. With teachers’ input, we also embraced an environment category. The result? A dynamic catalog of over 1,500 books across twelve categories, tailored for K-12 students in southern AZ. These titles have been carefully evaluated by retired educators to ensure they’re a perfect fit for supplementary classroom reading. Our recommendations also extend to educators, equipping them with tools to facilitate meaningful discussions in the classroom.

We continuously update this list to stay current with new releases that celebrate diversity and cater to the evolving educational landscape. But we can’t do this alone – community funders make it possible. Our volunteers are at the heart of our success. Delivering these book packages to teachers is a team effort that showcases the power of community dedication.

As we move forward, our commitment to bringing these invaluable resources to Southern Arizona’s classrooms remains unshakeable. With each book, we’re fostering curiosity, igniting discussions, and empowering a generation ready to learn.


Our History: Nurturing Change Through Action

Books for Classrooms traces its origins to a dedicated group of seasoned school supporters who convened in the wake of the 2018 Arizona teacher’s strike. This pivotal moment cast a spotlight on the glaring need for books within our schools, a result of a decade marked by slashed funding. Out of this urgency emerged an organization committed to providing swift and tangible aid to both teachers and students. Our mission crystallized around the idea of enveloping students with carefully selected supplementary books, evaluated by educators, that celebrate diversity and inspire growth. In our quest for impact, we posed three pivotal questions.

Are High-Quality Books Accessible?

Indeed, high-quality books exist, although their availability isn’t as abundant as desired across all grade levels. Procuring them proves challenging, yet their presence underscores our mission’s significance.

Do Teachers Yearn for Classroom Libraries?

Resoundingly, yes. Teachers, grappling with limited salaries, are determined to offer substantial libraries to their students. These collections encompass tailored resources, spanning from topics like disabilities and bullying to pressing societal concerns, STEM education, and environmental awareness.

Does the Community Rally Behind Books?

Absolutely. The hurdles posed by the pandemic spurred our transition to a dynamic high-tech approach, ultimately enhancing efficiency and efficacy. Over the past two years, numerous organizations, businesses, and foundations have united in support of our straightforward yet potent vision: to place high-quality books into students’ hands, catalyzing their growth.

Invaluable initial support stemmed from the County Superintendent of Schools, the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, and the United Way of Southern Arizona. An array of businesses, churches, social service organizations, and volunteers have all rallied to our cause. Foundations, both local and national, are increasingly recognizing our impact. Collaborative administrators and teachers have lent us invaluable guidance, encouragement, and insights.

The process of book discovery and review has been buoyed by retired educators stepping up to the plate. Our mechanism for cost-effective book ordering, coupled with direct delivery to teachers, remains fluid and responsive as we incorporate new sources. Volunteers eagerly undertake book sorting and crafting STEM activity kits, while others relish delivering materials. Anchoring our operations is a committed core of staff members who orchestrate list management, rigorous bookkeeping, efficient ordering, and regular grant procurement. A highly proficient board of directors steers our ship, guided by a full-time volunteer coordinator, while programmatic direction and fundraising are a shared pursuit.

As we reflect on our history, we remain steadfast in our commitment to empower students, bolster educators, and foster a community united in the pursuit of accessible education.

Scroll to Top