‘Baby book bag’ turns 2 today

Christine June, Story and photo
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Landstuhl’s Baby Book Bag Early Literacy Program celebrates its second birthday today.

Although often called “the terrible twos,” this birthday program just wants to continue instilling the love of reading to newborns and their families.

“This program delivers free books every day of the week to new moms and dads at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center,” said Shawn R. Friend-Begin, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern supervisory librarian and the Baby Book Bag Early Literacy Program founder. “We keep the program running by monetary donations from individuals and organizations in the community.”

Mrs. Friend-Begin replicated this program from one that she ran at a public library in the states to emphasize the importance of exposing KMC children to books and reading to them at the earliest possible moments.

“For a child to develop a life-long love of learning and strong reading skills, they need to start early and the best way to do that is to start reading to them the minute they’re born,” she said.

Almost 1,000 infants born at LRMC have received the bags, each containing two board books and literature on early literacy.

“This is great,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Milton McKenzie, 21st Theater Support Command Headquarters, Headquarters Company readiness section chief, when he received two bags, for his just-born, twin daughters, Iyaa and Ilaf.

“This gives us an idea of what books we should start reading to them, and hopefully, when they get old enough to read on their own, they will be better prepared,” he said.

Mrs. Friend-Begin selects the books that go into the bag, and she or a member of her staff delivers them every morning to all infants born at LRMC.

To donate or for more information, call 486-8811 or 06371-86-8390 or stop by the Landstuhl Library, Bldg. 3809 on LRMC.