Read a Book, Help a Cat

Henry the cat sleeps on a bed of warm blankets made by Stephaniejo. (photo by Vintage Books)

Henry the cat sleeps on a bed of warm blankets made by Stephaniejo. Our reading program donates blankets to cats in need. (photo by Vintage Books)

Taking time out of a busy summer break to sit down with a good book, or two, or 20, can be great exercise for your kids’ brains. But what if they could keep their minds sharp and do some real help too? Enter: Kazoodles’ summer reading program.

Every summer, Kazoodles hosts a very special reading program. Instead of reading for points or for prizes, kids read for a good cause: cat blankets. By simply keeping up on their reading, your kids can donate blankets in their names to cats at the Human Society for Southwest Washington. The program was started about seven years ago by local author Stephaniejo, who documented the experience in her recent book “meow a cancer legacy.”

After being diagnosed with cancer, Stephaniejo decided to refocus her life on attaining positive goals. Inspired by her longtime love of crocheting, and affection for cats, she decided to start crafting blankets for cats at the Humane Society. When she dropped off her first batch of blankets, she saw that the need far outweighed her resources. She turned to her community for help.

Kazoodles and Vintage Books decided to step in. For the last few years, we have dedicated our summer reading program to furthering Stephaniejo’s cause. This year is no different. As soon as you sign up at the store, you can start reading to earn blankets. The requirements to earn a blanket are simple:

Read 5 easy books or picture books
OR
Read 2 casual-level books
OR
Read 1 mega book of 300+ pages

When you sign up, we’ll give you a notebook to track your reading. Once you’ve read enough books, pat yourself on the back, then head back into the store to log your accomplishment with us. You can pick out a volunteer-made blanket of your choice to go to a cat at the Humane Society, and get that warm fuzzy feeling for helping a warm fuzzy friend stay warm and fuzzy.

If you’re looking for a way to be even more involved in Stephaniejo’s project, you can help crochet or knit blankets yourself. The required dimensions are 8″ x 17″, preferably made with machine-washable yarn. If you’re not the crafty type, you can also donate yarn for the cause. Call us or come into the store for more information.

In her book, Stephaniejo said the experience has not just helped cats and their new owners, but has also helped her cope with the harsh realities of cancer. Many cats go through similar trauma in their short lives. Something as simple as a handmade blanket, crocheted with love, can comfort a fuzzy friend in need. And something as simple as reading a book can make that a reality.

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