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Giving back the joy of reading

Schools donate books to victims of 49 Fire
By: Kristine Guerra, Gold Country News Service
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Daylin Pancan loves to read books about law enforcement and the military, but her family lost all their books in the 49 Fire. “We had tons of books,” 18-year-old Pancan said. “We didn’t get the chance to grab anything because everything was already burning. It was definitely devastating.” Pancan, who’s one of five children, said she likes to read real stories from real people. Although she hasn’t been able to replace most of her own books, her younger brothers and sisters now have new and gently-used children’s books donated by the Placer Area Reading Council. “We got lots of books like little kids’ books for our 3-year-olds and even for my sister and me,” Pancan said. Her older sister is currently serving in Iraq. The Placer Area Reading Council, together with about 20 different schools from 10 school districts in Placer and Sacramento counties, recently collected and distributed books for Auburn’s Rock Creek Elementary School students and their siblings who lost their homes in the 49 Fire. “When those homes were burned, we thought of what we do best and that’s to teach children to read,” said Judy Lynch, president of the Placer Area Reading Council. “We thought, ‘Let’s get books back in their hands.’” The Placer Area Reading Council donated at least 500 books to seven different families. A total of 18 children ranging from 14 months to 20 years of age received the books, Lynch said. Melinda Call, a counselor at Rock Creek Elementary School in Auburn, said the effort is a “unique and well-targeted” way of helping children who still need to learn how to read and write. Placer Area Reading Council volunteers delivered brand-new and gently used books donated by teachers and students to the families’ homes to protect the children’s privacy, Lynch said. Pancan, a senior at Horizon Charter School in Lincoln and an explorer for the Sheriff’s Department, said she plans to go to Sierra College. With her family still recovering from the 49 Fire, Pancan said she’s not sure where to go from there. “This whole fire thing kind of stops everything,” she said. However, Pancan said she and her family are thankful for all the books they received from the community. ---- Districts with participating schools: Rocklin, Roseville City, Dry Creek Elementary, Western Placer, Loomis Elementary, Penn Valley, Natomas, Placer Hills