Janice’s Bookshelf: April Recommendation

Caps for Sale Image


Caps For Sale 

Told and Illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina
Published by Harper Collins
Age Range: 4-8 yrs 


This “Reading Rainbow Book” is a timeless classic that has entertained many generations. Children will love the humorous story of a peddler trying to outwit the monkeys. There is lots of repetition in this book, which makes it a fun read for children and adults alike. Young ones can practice their counting skills and color knowledge while they listen to this warm story that helps to teach about conflict resolution as well. This bright picture book comes in board, paperback and hardback editions, and is great for ages 4-8. Be ready for lots of giggles as you share this book with the young ones in your life!
– Janice Dobbs


Janice Dobbs has been the Book Coordinator for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for over 17 years. She’s responsible for purchasing, organizing, and managing the delivery of over 80,000 books annually to our partner clinics. 

Welcome New Board Members!

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(left to right: Eli Colmenero, Neesha Hitchcock, Kelly Jernigan, Jamie Elwood, Megan Sturges Stanfield, Bill Eckert, Jenny Garmon)


We are welcoming seven new Advisory Board members this year! This phenomenal group includes people with a wide variety of skills and expertise who all have one thing in common: a passion for literacy and ROR-KC.


Eli Colmenero is an Insurance Tax Associate at MarksNelson, LLC. He’s an attorney who’s been involved with ROR-KC for several years as a volunteer Books On Tap committee member, and is excited to join the Advisory Board. He comes from a family of teachers and family literacy has always been important to him. He believes strongly in the mission of preparing children to enter kindergarten as prepared as they can possibly be.


Neesha Hitchcock has been working at Children’s Mercy Hospital since 2011. Her current role is Director of Operations. She volunteers with Girls on the Run, Junior League and Boys and Girls Club, and is a member of the Greater KC Chamber Centurions. Neesha is passionate about helping the community’s most vulnerable children. She understands that reading aloud at a young age is key to building a strong imagination and understanding of the world…and every child deserves that opportunity.


Kelly Jernigan, J.D., CFA is a portfolio manager at the Commerce Trust Company. He has worked as a public defender, public school teacher and investment analyst.  He is excited to be a part of ROR-KC because of its focus on the importance of parental involvement in developing early childhood literacy.


Jamie Elwood is a Literacy Coach for Juniper Gardens Children’s Project through a Literacy 3D grant. She’s an early childhood special education teacher and she has a degree in language and literacy. Jamie loves working with ROR-KC because it’s the only program that does early intervention paired with a child’s well visit. She feels strongly about making a difference so that local children are successful later in life.


Megan Sturges Stanfield is a life-long lover of books. She holds vivid memories of being read to as a child and now loves reading with her niece and nephew and showering them with books. Megan’s passion to make a difference and create change drives her professional and volunteer work. From the early days of her career serving as a parent educator with Early Head Start to her current role as President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City, she is dedicating her time and energy to providing opportunities for kids to succeed. Megan is also a former Executive Director of ROR-KC.


Bill Eckert is a financial advisor, national speaker, author and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. Bill’s unique specialty is using tax-reducing strategies which allow people to make charitable contributions. This creates a win-win situation for individuals and charities. He’s excited to be part of the ROR-KC team because he feels that education is the key to success and it starts with early childhood literacy.


Jenny Garmon loves supporting children and building stronger communities.  The unique nature of ROR-KC’s foundation in medical science and heartfelt volunteer work appeals to Jenny, and she enjoys being a volunteer reader at a clinic. She is honored to work with the dynamic and talented members of the board, while bringing her creativity, energy and passion for collaboration to the table.

Celebrating 10 Years As a Volunteer Reader With ROR-KC


Every Tuesday afternoon, the patients and staff at Baby and Child Associates can count on two things: volunteer Susan Hannah and Pete the Cat. “I just love Pete the Cat books!,” says the retired elementary school teacher (pictured, left), who’s been faithfully reading to patients and siblings at Baby and Child for ten years.


Each week, she settles in at the child-size table and chairs in one corner of the colorful waiting room and engages children with a book. And more often than not, it’s Pete the Cat. “I even went out and bought a couple of Pete the Cat books, because I can really get the kids involved with those. I’ll ask, what do you think Pete’s going to do next? Or how do you think he stepped in those strawberries?” Often, they sing along about Pete’s white shoes.


Volunteering at the same clinic for ten years has its advantages. Susan says sometimes the children recognize her. “I’ve had a couple of them come in the door and go, ‘Oh, she’s here, look!’ Then they’ll come over to the table and sit down to listen.”


What makes her keep coming back, year after year? “I really think reading to those kids makes a difference. They look forward to that attention. You know, if you have the excitement in your voice or if you growl when it’s appropriate in the book, or you act surprised with a funny look on your face, that’s important to the kids, because then they see how exciting reading can be.”


Susan says parents sometimes join their children at the reading table, and she knows that they’re paying attention, too. 


“That’s what I try to get across to the parents…even if you only read one book at night when you put them to bed, that’s going to help them with vocabulary and overall learning and to know that you’re interested and you want them to learn to read. They can discover so much. It’s awesome.”


Awesome, indeed. That sounds like something Pete the Cat would say.


Thank you, Susan, for sharing your time and talents! Susan is one of about three dozen volunteer readers who read regularly at a partner clinic. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer reader, contact Marianne Sharp: msharp5@kumc.edu.

Hooked on Books by the Numbers: 13,000 Books, 16 schools, 50+ Volunteers!

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Hooked on Books is a lot like a puzzle. There are many pieces involved in our biggest and most important annual book drive and we are grateful to the volunteers, elementary schools and staff members who ensure that those pieces fit together perfectly.


ROR-KC’s longtime Book Coordinator, Janice Dobbs, is the puzzle master. This year she coordinated with librarians and administrators at 16 different elementary schools and one business (Rainy Day Books).


Photo of books collected at Hawthorn Elementary



Schools ran their drives between January and March, and Advisory Board members and other volunteers helped out by dropping off big red collection bins and picking up the boxes of books. The schools compete and the winning school (the one which collects the most books per student) wins a Scholastic gift certificate and a celebration for one classroom.


We have a winner!


Congratulations to Lone Jack Elementary, for winning this year’s competition! Lone Jack collected nearly six books per student. Way to go, Lone Jack! A special thank you to Denna Coulson, Library Media Specialist at Lone Jack, who put an incredible amount of effort into a successful drive.


Together, all 16 schools collected 13,000 books.



What do we do with all of them? Many  will go into ROR-KC pediatric clinic waiting rooms for patients and siblings to take home.  Many books appropriate for older readers were shared with ten other literacy organizations.


The Sorting Party


That’s a lot of books to sort through, and a huge group of volunteers is essential!




On Saturday, March 23rd, nearly 50 volunteers came to the ROR-KC offices to help us sticker and sort about 7,000 books.




It was a really fun, productive morning, and we could never have done it without the great volunteers!




Six volunteers from Cerner delivered the heavy boxes of books to several locations on Monday, March 25th.

Thank you to everyone involved!


The Hooked on Books drive provided ROR-KC with enough books to stock our pediatric clinic partner waiting rooms for three or four months, which is wonderful!


We are always in need of gently-used children’s books (especially board books for the little ones). If you’re interested in holding a book drive – including a virtual drive – here’s how you can help.