The Star-Herald

Book Bus visits Mapleton Elementary School

On last Wednesday morning, the Book Bus stopped at the Mapleton Elementary School in order to give a book to every student.  Jennifer Frances, who is with the Bess the Book Bus of Tampa, Florid, drove.

She is known by all the children who visit the Book Bus as Miss Jenn.  She visits Mapleton Elementary School every other year as part of their nationwide home library program.

The Book Bus runs on the enjoyment and learning from reading books.  The program is dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap created by poverty. Miss Jenn believes it is important to build home libraries and a love for reading in our most underserved communities across the USA by making the joy of book ownership a reality for our kids.

Jennifer Frances of “Bess the Book Bus,” located in Tampa, Florida, distributes free books to students at Mapleton Elementary School. Frances and the Book Bus visited sites in The County last week. She visits every other year and encourages the students to become good readers. (Courtesy of Terry Sandusky)

Miss Jenn talks about newborn infants coming into the world with a natural desire to learn to read.  As these children grow, the differences between how some children become good readers versus other not-so-good readers are choice and access.  The Book Bus is trying to help by providing access to books that are interesting to young and developing readers.  Her organization believes books help children get away from the natural competitiveness that occurs at school between youngsters.  She also believes that reading is a great pastime when a youngster can meet a new friend in the pages of a book.  For her, books are like life rafts where the child can dive into a book and escape some of the daily challenges and unpleasantness that children encounter. 

The books and the book bus expenses are underwritten by a number of grants and donations from both local and national businesses and other area groups.  Miss Jenn flies in and out of Bangor, where the Book Bus is permanently garaged.  The Maine Book Bus was originally used by a teenager who created Rebecca’s Mission for the development of reading literacy through home libraries. When she went on to college, the Book Bus was donated to Bess the Book Bus and Aid to Kids in Maine.

A view of the interior of the Book Bus, where hundreds of books are made available to young children free of charge. The Bess the Book Bus program gave away 75,000-plus books last year in 37 states. Staff member Jennifer Frances brought the bus to Mapleton as well as the St. John Valley and Houlton last week.
(Courtesy of Terry Sandusky)

All the students at the school were able to pick a book that they found interesting to them.  Miss Jenn asked kids to help choose books they thought absent students would like.  The kids at every grade level were excited to receive a book.  Susan Richards, Title 1 reading teacher at the school, coordinated the process of book selection as each student went through the line.  She thanked Miss Jenn for another successful visit by the Book Bus.

Auction ends tomorrow

One day is left for the Mapleton Lions Club Online Charity Auction.  There are well over 100 items in the auction catalog which can be seen online.  Bidders have one day to find some good deals.  The auction opened Aug. 17 and will close Thursday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m.  

The donated items are items, gift certificates and services from area businesses and merchants.  The auction is being conducted online at The online catalog for the Mapleton Lions Club is available at this website and bids are being accepted. All funds raised through the auction will help youth programs and other lions club charities

Stew night returns

Just a reminder that the Mapleton Daze Committee’s annual stew night will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. (or when sold out).  The dinners can be purchased and picked up at the Mapleton Lions Club across from the Mapleton Diner.  

The cost will be by donation with a suggested donation of $8 for the meal (main dish, roll, dessert and drink).  The menu choice of main dishes will consist of beef stew, chicken stew or American chop suey and as the committee says, “Let us do the cooking and the dishes for you — what a deal.”  

This is one of the many fundraising events that the committee hosts each year to keep the events at Mapleton Daze free to everyone who attends.  Come out, enjoy some good homemade cooking and support next year’s Mapleton Daze week of fun and excitement.

Mapleton Daze fall craft fair 

The Mapleton Daze Committee announced their annual Fall Craft and Vendor Fair will be back on Saturday, Oct. 9, just in time for folks to get their Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday shopping done.

It will be held again at the Mapleton Lions Hall in town, and will be hosted by the Mapleton Daze Committee. There will be lots of homemade amd vendor items for sale.  The committee will have lots of goodies for sale, including hats and T-shirts, food, raffle tickets and all-occasion and holiday boxes of greeting cards.  The proceeds from the sales at the committee booth will be used to cover Mapleton Daze event expenses in June 2022.  

The committee encourages friends and neighbors to come and support the three towns and their local crafters.  Everyone is invited to stop by their table and see what they have available.

The committee reminds everyone that it is very important to follow COVID restrictions, and everyone who attends the event will need to wear a face covering.

Terry Sandusky is the Star-Herald correspondent for Mapleton, Chapman and Castle Hill and can be reached at 764-4916 or at

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