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Local Publisher Putting Books in Young Hands

by and on April 13, 2020 5:00 AM

LEMONT – Local children’s book publisher Eifrig Publishing is making its children’s books available for free to kids and parents stuck at home during this time of crisis.

“As this new era of life has developed, I started to think about what I can do to make a difference,” said founder Penny Eifrig. “I realized that a lot of people are thinking about giving money to organizations that give food and making sure that people have housing and medical care and equipment. Those are all really important things to be contributing to, but I didn’t want things like books to be forgotten, especially for kids who are now home and may have only had books really at school.”

Eifrig is giving books from her publishing company as “little gifts” to go along with meals through free, school meal pick-up programs (starting in the State College Area School District) and later at the State College Area Food Bank.

“This allows families not only to have food on the table, but also something for their mind and soul,” said Eifrig.

Eifrig started a nonprofit called Random Acts of Reading, which raises money to bring authors to school to read to students. She is using funds raised through that program to donate the first round of books through the meal effort.

She hopes to be able to continue donating books once a week, so she is working on raising more funds. Those who may be interested in supporting the cause can find information at

Along with the physical books provided at the location mentioned above, Ebooks from the publisher are also available at a voluntary price point at the website. The book are available to download for free, $1, $3.99 (the regular price) or $10, for those who would like to pay it forward.

“All the authors have agreed to donate their work for free, for anyone who would like a free book,” said Eifrig.

The website also includes links to story times with authors and Eifrig plans to include Skype events to connect kids and authors online during this difficult time, “so kids can have a little bit of fun with a live activity.”

And for young authors who are feeling inspired at home, Eifrig encourages kids to use their extra time at home to become writers and illustrators themselves by entering the YACK! kids’ writing contest.

All submitted stories will be included in a free library, so kids around the globe can see what their cohorts are thinking about as they go through these strange times. A gold medal winner will be selected at the end of the year and the winner’s book will be published by Eifrig Publishing, with the proceeds going to the nonprofit of choice of the young author. Visit for more information.

“Everything is turned upside down all across the globe and families are now hunkering down at home trying to find good ways to pass the time,” said Eifrig. “Books, reading and writing are a great way to spend your days together.”

Eifrig Publishing was created in 2006 with the motto: “Good for our kids, good for our Earth, and good for our communities. We are passionate about helping kids develop into caring, creative, thoughtful individuals who possess positive self-images, celebrate differences and practice inclusion. Our books promote social and environmental consciousness and empower children as they grow in their communities.”

“My wonderful team of authors and illustrators hopes that many families will take advantage of these opportunities to read their books for free and we all look forward to seeing what stories the kids will create during this very challenging time,” said Eifrig.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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