Found Books: New Blog Series by Founder, Adrienne Schatz

Hey, I’m Adrienne! I’m Book Trust’s founder.
This is the start of my new Book Trust blog - Found Books. I’m a bit of a book nut, and each month, I look forward to sharing part of my collection with you as I contrast a vintage children's book with a current one.

Hi, I’m Adrienne! You may remember me from such classic Book Trust moments as ‘When BT Parents Still Had To Sign Physical Book Checks,’ or ‘That Time Our Inaugural Software Platform Was Delayed Because Our Tech Team Was Stuck In A Monsoon On A Bangladeshi Rooftop.’

I’m Book Trust’s founder. And wonderfully, you probably don’t remember me because in the past 18 years, and in the eight since I turned over the Executive Directorship, Book Trust has grown immensely. I’m in awe of our staff, our donors, our boards, and everyone in our schools – especially our kids. Book Trust is my baby, and there’s a part of me that will always consider each of our 57,000 kids – and millions more into the future (dream big, always) – my own.

I started Book Trust because I wanted all children to have the joy of seeing books on their desks as they walked into class, as I did. So many of my former classmates couldn’t afford it, and I wanted that barrier to equality – of course kids noticed it – to disappear. I’ve always loved to read, and hated the thought that so many children might never get the chance to explore if they loved it, too.

Within a month, we knew Book Trust really did give that joy to kids. After a few months, we knew it was doing more than we’d planned – changing lives. The rest is history.

This is the start of my new Book Trust blog – Found Books. I’m just as much of a book nut today as ever, and our CEO Tiffany and I thought it’d be fun to bring that back into the Book Trust fold. Each month, I’ll contrast a vintage and current children’s book – from picture books to young adult titles. I have a big collection of each and look forward to sharing them with you.

I hope to hear from you, too with comments, questions, and recommendations! My shelves are groaning, but I can’t resist a good new title.


You’re a terrible man, Gordon Parks Jr.

Just kidding. I love Gordon Parks. But man, he contributed to a doozy of a vintage kids’ book.

You’re right. Not a children’s book.

Gordon was a fascinating man. He got his start as a photographer while a Pullman Porter in the 40s, when he was lent a passenger’s camera. After falling in love with photography, he went on to work for the Farm Security Administration, documenting American poverty; contributed photo essays to Life magazine; was a successful glamour photographer; and was the first African American producer and director of feature length films…including the famous Shaft.

Not a children’s book either, but a lot of older kids would enjoy it.

Although his lovely autobiography, A Choice of Weapons, isn’t a young adult title, I highly recommend it to mature teens and adults. It follows his struggles and growth as a young African American man making his way in a white dominated field and world, and covers race, poverty, and his own life with passion and humanity – it’s a wonderful book.

That’s why I’m a fan of Gordon Parks.

I’d like to yell at him because of J.T.

Gordon photographically illustrated a children’s book?! I cannot wait to see its heartwarming ending! 

When I found it hiding in a Wyoming used bookstore, I opened to a random page… Gritty! Beautiful! A troubled boy in a rough neighborhood takes care of a hurt cat!

I closed the book, saving what I was sure was the ‘kitty purring on his lap’ last part for later, and happily took it home. Spoiler alert… Have Kleenex nearby when you read it. Yikes, the trauma.

I immediately turned to Patricia Polacco’s Mrs. Katz and Tush as a chaser.

Slightly different styles, no?

Patricia is high up in my pantheon of author/illustrators. Like Gordon, she’s a master of meaningful word and beautiful, creative image.

She handles highly charged themes in a heartwarming, kid-appropriate way – The Butterfly follows a young girl in WWII-era France helping a Jewish family escape the Nazis, and January’s Sparrow takes place along the Underground Railroad. Her characters are so human your heart aches and sings for them; she trusts her young readers’ empathy and wonder.

And thankfully, you don’t need Kleenex when reading her happily poignant story of a widowed Jewish woman befriending a young African American boy in their common venture to care for an unwanted kitten. I want to hug every person in that book.

And dance with them. Note, Larnel’s dirty socks – love it.

Feel like sharing wonderful books for Black History Month or traumatic kids’ books, or those that handle difficult subjects in gentle ways? Please do! Email me at any time with comments or questions, and see you for our next book chat in March!

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