Giving Books Away & Helping Us Grow…One Mind at a Time

“When you sell (give) a man a book you don’t sell (give) just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue. You sell (give) him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night–there’s all heaven & earth in a book–a real book.”  ~ Christopher Morley

Here are the thoughts behind the idea of giving books away:

For years my husband Stu and I have wanted to give “book certificates” rewarding older kids who are involved in extra-curricular academic/community work (non-sport…FBLA, FCG, Speech, 4-H, Boy Scouts, etc.) The younger children at the schools would be able to pick whichever book they like at the store and get it with their certificate, so the book they receive is one they are proud to own.

We want to give books to new parents at the hospital as well (a board book by Sandra Boynton or Bill Martin) & books to help parents with ideas for teaching reading and exposing very young children to books such as Great Books for Boys (or Girls) Ages 2-14 at immunization clinics with descriptions of 600 books in each book for the new parents to have for a reference of books to get into their home libraries.

We’ve also hoped to give a book to those in the community who are dealing with grief and we would like for the hospital to have books selected by the individual nurses and doctors to give out to their patients behind the scenes of what we cannot know about because of their confidentiality rules–books to help families dealing with difficult situations (including books given to those with handicapped children).

Goal – 5,000 books to give away each year in Hamilton County to children, those hurting in grief, those who are sick, and elderly. The books are paid for by donations and possible grants ($35,000 annual donations to meet the needs I’ve put below…we’re glad to hear of more suggestions.)  If you can help that would be great!

The businesses in our community work together, along with private contributions. I know we all care, but many of us just don’t know how to help. Collaboratively we can accomplish an amazing amount. Once we get this program going we can ask for sponsors…there really isn’t an end to where the outreach could go showing that we all do care. Contributions from businesses are tax-deductible as an advertising expense because I will put your business on the certificates for the students & in bookmarks that I give out, as well as in all books here at the store. Your business will be on the list for all the towns (hospital and schools)–it’s a list of all involved in the county project.

Anyone can help! Just let me know if you have a specific area on the goal list you’d like your money to go toward. We’ve had memoriam gifts that go directly to the books on grief, for instance, and we’ve had financial gifts from grandparents go directly to specific local schools.

Thank you so much for helping make this possible. We truly believe in the power of a book–often times picked up at midnight by one who is hurting and perfect collections to begin for children. Love this! Love that we’re doing it together!

Thank you!!!  Susan

2016 Totals:

As of December 2016 we raised $9,750.  The money was used to give away:

200 board books to young mothers of new babies

1600 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly

350 young mothers

1500 books to kids at the elementary school

2015 Totals:

As of December 2015 we raised $9,450.  The money was used to give away:

150 board books to young mothers of new babies

1500 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly

100 books (mainly Preston McDaniels books) to patients

300 young mothers

1000 books to kids at the elementary school


2014 Totals:

As of December 2014 we raised $14,750.  The money was used to give away:

100 board books to young mothers of new babies

50 children’s books for young children staying all night at hospital

1500 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly

300 young mothers


2013 Totals:

As of December 2013 we raised $12,500.  The money was used to give away:

250 board books to young mothers of new babies

100 children’s books for young children staying all night at hospital

1000 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly (hospital, Long Term, Villas, Manor…)

300 students for rewards at area schools


2012 Totals:

As of December 2012 we raised $9,750.  The money was used to give away:

350 board books to young mothers of new babies.

750 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly (Mainly Streams in the Desert and One Thousand Gifts)

250 students for rewards at area schools


2011 Totals:

As of December 2011 we raised $11,750.  The money was used to give away:

300 books to Aurora Memorial Hospital Patients and new babies

600 books to those grieving, hurting, elderly (hospital Long Term, Villas…)

450 students for rewards at schools

100 new mothers in Aurora area


2010 Totals:
As of December 2010 we raised $8,500.  The money above was used to give away:

700 books to Aurora Elementary School Children

500 Streams in the Desert to those grieving or Hurting in personal situations

30 Sandra Boynton board books to Memorial Hospital for new babies

Goal 5000 Books to Give Away Annually
Average wholesale cost of children’s books $4
Average wholesale cost of books for middle school/high school students $7
Average wholesale cost of books for adults $7-$9 (Large print $12)

$35,000 needed per year to pull this off.
Breaking this amount down is not daunting.

# of books:

Hospitals: (Aurora & Henderson)
50 Long Term Families
250 Doctors (one case of 30/doctor) – books chosen by the nurses to use with patients
500 immunization clinic –  books called Great Books for Girls: 600 Recommended Books for Girls ages 3-14)
or Great Books for Boys: 600 Recommended Books for Boys ages 3-14)
260 new baby – board book by Eric Carle or Sandra Boynton

520 Families in grief or hurting situations

200 Villas
1000 FBLA/4H/FCG/Speech – Misc. Congratulations from Our Town to those involved in activities (outside of sports) (10/week)
300 Elderly and sick at retirement and nursing homes
500 Hurting that come in the store upset or that we find out about & can send a book to (500 average per year already given out at the store to those grieving or seriously hurting in personal situations)

550 Aurora Elementary
300 Aurora Middle School
400 Aurora High School
300 Henderson/Bradshaw (Heartland)
200 Giltner K-12
200 Hampton K-12
50 Hampton Lutheran


If you’d like to help you may send an e-mail, call the store, contribute online (from the homepage), or just add an amount onto your purchase in the store anytime….whenever I get a contribution I order more books for this project.

If sending a check, please address it to:

Susan’s Books & Gifts
Attn: Giving Books Away
1124 13th Street
Aurora, NE  68818

(402) 694-2244

THANK YOU to these businesses & organizations that have donated money since we began this program.  Susan



Accounting, Attorneys, Financial Planning

Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson &

Oldfather, LLP

Dohlman, Akerlund & Eddy, LLC

Edward Jones Investments

Potts & Levering PC


Agricultural & Equipment:

Aurora Coop

Grain Place Foods

Green Line Equipment (John Deere)

Grosshans International

Hamilton Equipment Sales & Service

Heuermann Foundation

Norder Supply, Inc.

Pacific Ethanol Aurora


Automobile Dealers, Repair, & Service:

Advanced Motorsports

Advantage Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac

Rich & Sons RV/Camper Sales – Grand Island

TO Haas Tire

Todd’s Body & Glass

Wortman Motor Co.



Cornerstone Bank

Heritage Bank

Pinnacle Bank


Construction, Contractors

ABC General Contractors

A-May-Zing Construction – Hampton

Custom Wood Products – Henderson

Danish Oak  – Hampton

GE Peters, Inc.

Mike Nelson Land Developers

Paschke Brothers Construction

Professional Building Inspections, Inc. – Hampton

Sack Lumber Co.

Todd’s Stump Removal

Willis General Contracting


Film Production:

Fortunate Pictures


Health (Fitness, Exercise, Salons, & Pharmacy):

Aurora Physical Therapy

Aurora Wash House


Main Street Salon – Hampton


Jim’s USave

OT Potential

Touch of Health


Heating/Air Conditioning/Plumbing/Repair:

Obermeier Repair


Industry, Service & Manufacturing:

Great Plains Meter

Hamilton Equipment

Hamilton Telecommunications


Interstate Batteries

Sukup Manufacturing



Cornerstone Insurance Group

Rickert Insurance – Hampton

Shelter Insurance


Restaurants and Food Services:

Aurora Mall

Aurora Meat Block

Espressions Coffee Shop

Henderson Meat Processors



Super Foods



Eberly & Sons Trucking

Nelson Transporters

Rex Richter Trucking, Inc

Stettner Trucking – Hampton


Contact Us

Susans Books and Gifts
Phone: 402.694.2244

Opening Hours:
Monday: 10am to 8:00pm
Tuesday: 10am to 8:00pm
Wednesday: 10am to 8:00pm
Thursday: 10am to 8:00pm
Friday: 10am to 8:00pm
Saturday: 10am to 3pm
Sunday: Closed

Sign-up for Susan’s Thursday Notes

On Thursdays I try to send an e-mail where I write about what I am personally reading in my own life that week. I then look for a Latin phrase relating to the topic of my reading. You can see past notes under archives on my home page, listing these writings by topic. I write to help process life. I write so that we can all have the opportunity to read what will help us find beauty in life. Beauty in details. Realizing how much we have regardless of what pains we may have. I would love to add you to my list of who gets the notes on Thursdays! Susan