Which books will SMART buy?  

"A Big Guy Took My Ball!" by Mo Willems is a book with two friends who are as different as a pig and an elephant, but they care about each other and teach readers how to be good friends. Mo Willems tells a good story that leads to conversations about how we can share experiences, but have different perspectives. 

SMART buys and gives: 

  • Books for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and elementary ages

  • Books with good stories

  • Non-fiction books

  • Books about growing vegetables

  • Diverse home libraries

  • Diverse classroom libraries including Spanish/English bilingual

  • Stories to help children learn to express their feelings 

  • Big books, small books, thin books, heavy books, board books, paperbacks, and hardcover books. 


Book or Treat!

Candy is dandy, but books are better!


Your donation of $50 buys 25 new high quality books for young children in Galveston County (infants through grade 4).

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Monday, October 31st, 2022 


  • Go outside and take a stroll with the family close to sunset. 

  • Remain six feet or more away from anyone you do not live with.

  • Wear a mask (along with your costume). 

  • Say "thank you" to people who give you books or candy.

  • Enjoy the costumes from a distance.  

  • Look, touch, and take only one book or candy piece. Do not touch items you are not taking with you. 


Following the advice of health experts, SMART will coach book givers at "Book or Treat" stations to wear face masks, provide hand sanitizer, and to handle new books only with disinfectant wipes. We encourage families to approach the books one family unit at a time and to take only the first book you touch. 



Halloween Event Promotes Reading as a Treat for Kids

On Halloween night, young costumed visitors will hear “Book or Treat,” a new twist on the old trick-or-treat greeting! While some creative neighbors will celebrate with foggy porches, sound effects and mechanical creatures, others will shake things up by giving treats other than candy! The new “Book or Treat” idea began with Kathy Machol, a long-time board member of Galveston’s SMART Family Literacy. As a project of SMART, whose mission focus is early childhood and health literacy, Machol began offering board books to babies and toddlers several years ago. “All the books were taken and kids were running to parents happily reporting that they had a book. Many didn’t even look at the candy.” Last year, new chapter books were offered as an option to middle school kids, who also approved of being offered choices.

Child health advocates encourage fun family activities that offer time together, creation of imaginative costumes, going outside, and walking. On Halloween night, the opportunity to see other families and marvel at their costumes does not require close contact, so it’s possible to celebrate safely. Most aspects of trick-or-treat night fit the picture of a healthy and fun family activity. One drawback, health-wise, is the abundance of sugar. There will always be plenty of sugar treats on Halloween. However, choices are a good way to go, and offering books as treats includes all children in the holiday, even those who cannot have sugar due to food allergies, diabetes concerns, or other health issues.  

Giving books as treats is promoting both reading and child nutrition, two in one! When they heard about “Book or Treat” and the thumbs up reaction of children and their parents, other SMART board members joined Machol in the campaign. Dr. Abe DeAnda, 2021 SMART Board President, would like nothing better than a future in which heart disease no longer exists. Whether we are talking about reading, exercise or eating vegetables, the early years are a great time to introduce healthy habits and lay foundations for a stronger future.

In 2020, SMART gave 32,537 children’s books in Galveston County. Big results are achieved by working together with a dedicated network of pediatric clinics, childcare centers, elementary schools, and partners. Access to books can make a difference in the development of young minds, and reading leads to later success, so SMART works to put books in kids’ hands. In 2021, age-appropriate home libraries an essential tool for closing learning gaps that occur due to time out of school.

How can you help? To support literacy, you can sponsor a “Book or Treat” Halloween night station or an early childhood classroom library. SMART will provide 25 books for every $50 donation. Visit www.smartfamilyliteracy.org to make a donation and to learn more about SMART educational programs for kids, parents, and educators. Email smartfamilyliteracy@gmail.com to learn where to find “Book or Treat” giving stations. SMART Family Literacy offices are located at 2728 Avenue Q, Galveston, TX 77550.