A Bag of Books


Carol Jago is a reading and literature expert. She has made a significant impact on my life and the lives of countless other educators. When Carol tweeted about a teacher who fueled her mother’s love of books, I just had to know more. In her kind and generous way, Carol shared this beautiful story.

My mother, Mary Giacchino, is the daughter of two teenage immigrants from Sicily. She went off to first grade at a New York City public school not speaking English. Her teachers were young ladies from Manhattan whom the kids liked to meet at the subway exit and accompany to school. Mary loved school and became an avid reader. When her second grade year came to an end, she knew she would miss the reading lessons. Her teacher understood and sent her home for the summer with a grocery bag full of books.

Mary went on to graduate from Girls Commercial in New York and to junior college in Joliet, Illinois. She taught until she became a mother, and then she raised 5 kids. When the last one went off to school, she went back to college to get her degree in education. Mary then taught 4th grade at St. Patricia’s in Chicago for 32 years. She inspired an affinity for reading in hundreds of students.

Two of Mary’s daughters became lifelong teachers who love reading and books, and they passed that love on to their own students. Mary is now the proud great grandmother of 9 and has passed her love of books on to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Generations of readers were born through the kind gesture of a young teacher and a bag full of borrowed books.

The current climate can make us feel powerless, but Carol reminded me of the undeniable power of a teacher. Sometimes a simple act of generosity can change the whole trajectory of a family and community. Was there a teacher whose generosity created ripples of impact in your life?

Wishing you an endless supply of chalk and chances-


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