By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

This past spring, Marlene Zeiler sold Tall Tales Book Shop, which she had owned for more than 30 years. The book shop is still open with a new owner, but Zeiler hasn’t gotten out of the book business. She’s created a nonprofit called Children Read modeled on the Children’s Book Bank in Portland, Or.

“I am planning to distribute books to preschool-kindergarten age children mainly through Head Start preschools,” Zeiler said. “I am hoping to collect new and gently used books from families whose children have graduated into the elementary age books and whose rooms, attic, basements are crammed with terrific picture books, board books, hardback and soft back books that might need a bit of repair.”

Zeiler wants to fill book bags with 15 books for each preschool child to take home and have forever. She is currently taking book donations and storing them at her home, but she hopes that someone will donate a space to store and sort books in the future.

The book lover was moved to act after reading an MIT study that reported middle-income children are read aloud to on average of 1,200 hours by the time they reach kindergarten. Lower-income children are read to about 25 hours.  Middle-income children have owned 300 books by kindergarten and lower-income children, on average, one book. “These statistics made my jaw drop,” Zeiler said.

To donate books, volunteer or find out more information, call (404) 237-2017 or email psymdz@emory.edu.

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.