Jennifer is a role model to all who know her, including me. In this life, we learn that love is about actions, but few of us have the courage to completely live this ideal. Love is about service. Love is selfless. Jennifer is brilliant, and could easily have left a mark in the corporate publishing world - or in any industry. She chose to take a path of struggle, hard work, long hours, and little attention. She chose a path of service - of love. She is the very best of us - and she is someone you can be proud to support. She is what we all would be - if we had the courage :)
As the program manager of an after school program located numerous Title One Schools in St. Petersburg Florida I’ve had the honor of collaborating with Bess The Book Bus. At last count Bess has provided nearly 10,000 books to hundreds of students in the last four years. Ms. Frances makes it her business to visit our elementary schools a minimum of four times a year. Students are able to pick books of their interest for not only their program libraries, but to build home libraries as well. Before my eyes I’ve seen students go from “ I hate to read” to “When’s Bess coming, I need a new book”. Our program, our students and our staff are better, brighter and wiser for have Bess The Book Bus in our lives.
Pinellas County Schools
21st Century Learning Centers
I Voluntee at an elementary school in nw florida. Bess was able to visit OBE and gift our preK-5th grade with books!! Each child was so excited with the opportunity to choose their very own book to take home!! It melted my heart when a child chose to get a book for his brother, and Jennifer made sure that he also chose a book for himself. Not only is she encouraging and supporting the literacy of the next generation, but displaying kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity.
Bess the book bus has been a major donor to Mothers of Minors! They provide books for every event we have to make sure all the families we serve have books for their babies!!!
I stumbled upon this sweet lil buss and her crew at Citgo one sunny morning! I’ve never known this bus to exist so i was excited. I brought my daughter who LOVES books and she and I stood in line to see what the hype was all about! I love how the book selection feels like an actual lil book store someplace rather than at a gas station...the atmosphere and how they make it so personal although there are usually several people around. I felt like a kid again selecting a book for my daughter! The interior design is fantastic and cozy! haha! It’s obvious I am a total Bess fan, and I appreciate everything that the crew does for the sake of literacy, education and most of all....the children!!! I cannot wait to see Bess and her people this summer!!! Thank you for ALL that you do to inspire my daughters love for reading! ❤️❤️
We have come across The Book Bus several times over the past few years and have become friends with Ms Jen. Every time we stumble across this fantastic bus, my kids eyes light up as they go running to pick out new treasure! The enormous selection brings them great joy as they spend time picking out thier perfect adventure. They cant wait to sit down and start reading! Ms Jen's generous heart shines through every time we see her and get the awesome privelege of visiting Bess the Book Bus!
Jen from Bess the Book Bus is a great person with a ton of passion promoting a love of reading to kids all over the country. Mostly these are children who have little resources or access to books. Having a new book they can call their own can have a huge impact on a child. You never see a frown when Bess the Book Bus is on site. Smiles from ear to ear.
I met Jen and Bess the Book Bus on her swing through Monterey, CA. She exudes such a positive attitude for reading that the kids can't help but fall in love with reading themselves. Bess is an absolute treasure.
Bess the Book Bus is an amazing literacy outreach organization that provides books to children. I've seen first-hand the enthusiasm for reading as well as the joy that this program brings to children of all ages. We've provided hundreds of books to Bess over the past few years and will continue to do so. Please keep up the great work you are doing!
I've seen the great people at this nonprofit at work several times, and they are doing great work! I always look forward to seeing them at community events, or even once-just seeing the Bus out on the road. Seeing the Bus on its way to an event really brightened my day, because I knew they were out there to do something wonderful. The world needs a whole fleet of busses like this-keep up the good work!
I have never seen my students more excited than when Bess the Book Bus came! They couldn't believe that they got to pick out ANY book they wanted! Books that they probably wouldn't be able to get any other way! Bess the book bus is an amazing program that does so much good for so many!
I have had multiple interactions with Bess and the love the comes flowing out of this organization is amazing. They have helped educate and open doors (minds) of children all over that otherwise would not have ever had the opportunity. Bess is changing the world and our future 1 child at a time. Keep up the great work.
What a near and dear to my heart organization!!! EVERYONE needs to read and best to get started young. Thank you for all that you do. You touched my son and we can't thank you enough for you generosity and kind loving spirit.
Bess is so much more that the gift that she obviously is. The opportunity to read allows not only one to temporarily travel to another time and place, but the opportunity for growth. Books are not cheap and many people can't afford them. Many times Bess gives children the first book they have ever owned. This resource is not only s physical gift but an emotional one as well. We couldn't thank Jennifer and Bess enough for blessing out school and community!!
Before the children board Bess the Book Bus Jennifer reads them a book piquing their interest just a bit. Then as the children board Bess she asks if they have a special interest such as dogs,cats, or sports. However they respond Jennifer comes up with the perfect book. She might ask them if they have a favorite author again the ultimate book is passed to the child and the look of joy warms the heart. Jennifer is amazing and is doing what makes others happy, therefore making her happy how many people can actually say their job makes them that happy. Bless Jennifer and Bess the Book Bus.
A book opens the door to a new world. It allows us to reimagine our circumstances, to test our personality and our ideas. It makes us who we are, a self that continually develops and gains definition through reading.
One thing that soon becomes clear in Reading is that a humanist love of letters has, for most of our history, been the exception rather than the rule.
The reader would be able to roam about everywhere,thinking for himself and forming his own judgements.We should have a sense that reading and writing threatened extant authority by granting people excessive freedom, cultivating a consciousness of alternative, future possibilities, Bess the Book Bus has a belief in the power of reading, its ability to allow us to reimagine our circumstances, to test our personality and our ideas.What’s very interesting is that the early critics of reading picked up on the fact that reading provides people with a gateway to a different moral world, where alternatives can be countenanced. And therefore reading always poses a threat to the prevailing order.A child that can own a book something to call their own.and learns to read.Has endless opportunities.When you can read you can take so many journeys.Vacations you cannot afford, you can travel where you heart want to take you.Bess The book Bus does that for children and adults.In these time no one should be illiterate,But sadly many are.Bess The Book Bus search the people out and helps them own a part of themselves.Yes ,we have libraries,you may check a book out.But many cannot even afford the I.D. needed for such.a simple thing.I co-wrote a book called Bess The Book Bus with the intent for anyone to understand how valuable the program is for our youth as well as our older adults.I think we all need this to continue.
I love witnessing this organization in action, whether I'm right there where the action is going on, or I am following the Bus on its journeys via social media. The smiles on the faces of the children who leave the bus, books in hand, speak volumes about the good work (and love) that comes of this program.
I am the Executive Director of Boards for Bros - a non-profit dedicated to giving the gift of skateboarding to underserved youth. We have had the privilege of working with Bess the Book Bus on numerous occasions and we have seen the transformative impact that her presence has had on the communities that we serve. We have witnessed first hand Bess' visitors faces light up and focus as they lovingly carry their books and sit right on the sidewalk and start reading. Bess reaches the kids that need to be reached and gives the gift of reading and is a direct demonstration that someone cares. Jennifer and her volunteers are completely dedicated to reaching every kid she can. We strive to work with Bess as often as we can. The world is a better place because of Bess, Jennifer and her volunteers.
Bess the Book Bus has helped mold the lives of many children by making books accessible to all. Reading is an essential part of developing and Jen has been committed to making sure EVERY child has an opportunity to fall in love with a story. Jen and Bess set out on many journeys throughout the year and cover thousands of miles from coast to coast for the opportunity to read and put a new book in a child's hand whom without Bess may not ever have the opportunity to fall in love with that fresh smell of a new book. The response she gets from the children and parents is heartwarming and keeps Bess and Jen pushing for the next opportunity. Bess is a non profit that we need in every community!!
Bess the Book Bus is an amazing nonprofit. Jennifer Francis does a wonderful job of bringing the love and importance of reading to children around the country. She started this organization with her own hard earned money because she felt a deep gratitude towards her grandmother, the Bess that the bus is named after, for instilling in her a love of reading. Through her grandmother she learned how very important it is that ALL children have the opportunity to to have something so important in their lives. I hope to see Bess continue her journey across this country helping children and playing a part in shaping the future.
Jennifer and Bess have brought joy to our students who don't live in houses full of books! Seeing our students enter a bus full of books and come out with a smile is amazing! This is an amazing way to encourage students from all walks to read! Now let's get her bus souped up, funded, filled with new books and ready for more meaningful journeys!
Great way to spread knowledge. Keep up the great work
As an early childhood educator in a school serving students from ages 3 yr old pre k through 5th grade, we strive to immerse our students in literature in our classroom and at home. Providing our children with wonderful books they can have in their hands at home is invaluable. Our school population represents a culturally and ethnically diverse lower economic community where items such as a new book or access to a variety of books can be limited. Having Bess the Book Bus and Jenn Frances visit our school has given our students an amazing opportunity to select their own special book, one that appeals to each student, as unique as they are. Seeing the children carefully and thoughtfully search for that one special title that grabs their interest is a joy to see. Jenn herself connects with each child, offering ideas and encouragement to find the one special book that will draw them in. Each child comes away with a treasure in hand, their smiles and their appreciation in being given a book of their own speaks volumes. Seeing them quickly move to find a place to bury their noses in their new book is so inspiring as they sit on the sidewalk or grass nearby, unable to wait to open the cover. We look forward to having Bess the Book Bus return to our school again soon to continue sharing the love of reading with our students and their community. I cannot imagine a more worth cause than to support literacy and reading.
Giving to Bess The Book Bus is almost in my genes. Both of my parents are children's book authors having published hundreds of titles. We toured book stores, international children's book festivals, and libraries around the world growing up; all to encourage the joy and a lifelong love of reading in children. I had the pleasure of meeting Jenn at the Blue Ridge Leadership Institute's annual convention in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee as she generously supported the Youth Leadership Academy with a visit with Bess the Book Bus. I am in awe of her commitment and clear sighted goals for children's literacy! This is the best program I have given to all year!!
What an inspirational person for both children and adults. She has took a dream from her childhood and made it come true. She has this gift inside her that comes from her heart. Her Love for others, and her love of reading. She has made this happen. Her passion shows in her interaction with children. She put a lot of hours and dedications to keep this company going. Our Children at our Early Childhood program just Love Bess the Book Bus and Ms. Jen.
Ms. Jen has been a big part of our program for many many of years. Always with a smile. She takes the time to reads to every age group, has the talent to keep their interest. There little feet march to the Big Bus with their happy smiles. The joy in their faces as they are able to get on the bus to pick out that special book. She has build a many of home libraries for our little ones and encouragement she gives to the parents to keep this going. This program is an amazing gift to all whom comes in contact with Best the Book Bus. A gift of hope, kindness, love and the amazing gift of site for some, when she teams up with the Vision Screening. I just can not say enough positive things that I have seen first hand. She is what this country needs more of. This program makes a big difference, one book and one child at a time.
I connected with Bess the Book Bus for the first time through First Book, many years ago. Her charity was still in its infancy but Jenn's commitment to bringing the love of literacy was very apparent. It amazed me how she moved mountains and braved thousands of miles in order to bring books to my school in Oregon. She's been to many more of my schools as I've moved around (I'm an elementary Literacy Coach). I host her at my home and it's always such a pleasure!
Bess the Book Bus and Jennifer Frances have visited all the schools that I've worked at in the past 8 years. She has given away close to probably 1,000 books in 3 schools in which I have taught. She does more (almost single-handedly) than some larger organizations. She is extremely accommodating and flexible when it comes to scheduling. My schools have been so appreciative to have her support and generosity. We love Bess & Jenn!
Jennifer and Bess the Book Bus do amazing and important work, bringing the love of reading to poor and under-served communities. She is truly inspiring.
Volunteering for Bess the Book Bus was wonderful! In 11 days I helped hundreds of kids pick books, and every one of them left the bus excited to read!
I had the distinct pri ledge to watch Bess being joy to some children on the Navajo reservation and to this day when I think of the smiles on those little faces it makes my heart fill with joy. To see those children experience something that they might not ever have the opportunity to experience and to watch them laugh and smile and share their selected books with others was something I hope more children in vulnerable areas get to experience. Our children need Bess!
Bess the Book Bus is needed to connect people to people and people to books, in this digital age it is even more important for the itinerant book bus to stay on the road, inspiring families with children to read together
Having Jenn and Bess the Bookbus visit our library at the end of summer is just terrific! We use her visit to wrap up our summer reading program. Having the kids being able to pick a book off the bus makes that day special for all our readers and readers from our surrounding communities! This year having the drumming program added more excitement to the visit. We are SO hoping this visit becomes an annual event for us. We are lucky to have had Cynthia Lord, a wonderful Maine author, make the connection for us with Jenn and her bus last year!
My school in Jacksonville, Florida is on the "hopeful" list. That is - hopeful that one day Bess The Book Bus will visit. As a school librarian in an inner city school, I know and fully understand the importance of placing reading materials into the hands of children. The work that is done by these volunteers fills the reading and literacy gap that exists for many children. Keep up the good work - we need you out here!
I have had the extreme pleasure of knowing Jenn and Bess the Book Bus for over 20 years. She has faithfully come to my school to place books into the hands of students who truly need them the most. My school serves many hard working families that struggle to supply the basic needs for a home. Unfortunately, books and home libraries become a luxury instead of a necessity in these households. Thanks to Bess the Book Bus, our students are able to experience the joy of choosing their very own book for free and the pleasure of taking it home to keep. You can not erase their smiles as they step off Bess the Book Bus holding their new book! Jenn always shares a book with our students in
a read aloud, and her passion for books is infectious! The kids just love to hear that she has scheduled a visit at our school! This mobile literacy program is a miracle in my eyes! Thanks to Jenn and Bess for their love and dedication to our students!
I am only a Facebook friend of Bess The Book Bus, just an interested stranger, but I am in love with every little thing about it. I am amazed it exists and I think the good work it does is beyond measure.
Bess the Book Bus is close to my heart! My oldest son has visited with Bess several times around our home town Fort Walton Beach and she has even visited his school. Bess the Book Bus truly gets children excited about books and reading.
The last 2 years Bess the book bus has visited in my small town. My 3 children, ages 12, 9, & 1 enjoy being able to choice a book of their liking. Such a great organization! We hope Bess visits Milbridge again in the future.
Bess the Bus has visited West Tampa Elementary numerous times, Each time Jenn visits she shares a READ Aloud story and then each student gets to board her MAGIC Reading Bus and choose their own book to take home and read. The Kindergarten students talk about her kindness and her visits for days afterwards . These students often come from very low income families and love that their child can start building their home library with each visit from Jenn and Bess the Bus. All you need to do is the faces of these students after a visit (The smile goes from ear to ear ! )
One look at the faces of the children who get a book from Bess the Book Bus tells the whole story. Jennifer Frances's love and dedication shows in the way she interacts with young readers and how she helps them pick out their very own books. She goes into the most impoverished areas with her yellow book bus and changes lives for the better, opens hearts and minds. I once watched her outside a hotel conference center when she called over someone from the hotel staff who was leaving. "Do you have any children at home?" she asked. "Would they like a free book?" She's a wonder and is doing so much good in the world!
Speaking from the perspective of an author, fantastic organization and people who are 100% dedicated to serving the community and bringing magic to kids. They are so supportive of authors and books, but most importantly go places and see kids who may never have had their own book. I hear from teachers that the kids' excitement and delight with their books and with reading lasts long after Bess has left.
The Clearwater Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi has worked with Jenn and Bess the Book Bus for 2+ years. Nothing but positive things to say! A great organization with a great mission. We have both donated books and also volunteered with Bess.
Jen at Bess the Book Bus is dedicated to getting books out to underprivileged kids. She is tireless in her efforts to help kids learn better reading skills and be excited about learning.
We look forward to Bess The Book Bus' return to downeast Maine every year!! Jen is a delight and remembers (how I dont know!) book conversations she has had with my kids from year to year. They talk about the book bus for weeks before she arrives and for weeks after. I cannot even begin to express how much Jen has encouraged and helped my kids' love of reading. As a homeschooling mom this is incredible, but as a person who loves book and loves to see kids' faces light up when they discover the magic between the pages, the work Jen is doing with her book bus is priceless and incredible.
Bess the Book Bus is unique because she travels all over the country sharing the valuable lesson of a love of reading with folks from all over America. Such a well done valuable service. Love it.
I have had the pleasure of watching Jennifer Frances and Bess the Book Bus in action here in Maine. Her annual visit to our local EduCare center is always a high point of my day. Watching several hundred children each choose a book for their very own is a joy. Jennifer is wonderful with the children, guiding them to books that appeal and are appropriate for their ages. I've also gone to several other sites where Bess was parked (a small public library and a local bank) to watch the magic happen. I feel privileged to be able to donate advanced reading copies to Jenn each year so that she has more books (and a wider variety) to offer older children. Her mission to spread the joy of reading is one of the most amazing charities I know. Truly grassroots! With very little money she makes magic happen!
Having Bess the Book Bus visit is the highlight of our summer reading program. Love to see the smiles on the faces of the kids as they are allowed to pick out their own book to read. Many of them can't wait until they get home and will sit down and start reading right in the parking lot!! In addition to the individual books for children, teachers and librarians that need books are also welcomed. Thank you Jennifer and Bess the Book Bus for helping to spread the joy of reading and a love for books!
We began working with Bess the Book Bus in 2011 and have always had incredibly positive experiences. The look on the kids' faces when they realize that they get to pick out and KEEP their own book melts my heart every time. There is NO ego involved in this organization. The founder does this all for the kids and is 100% committed to serving as many kids as possible -- even when that means driving for hours and giving up some personal comforts. I can't recommend Bess the Book Bus enough.
Bess the Book bus does something nothing else can, it brings the joy of reading, it fights illiteracy by giving children books, books that teach, books that inspire, books that open up new worlds and build imaginations. There are thousands of happy and thankful children in our country who now have a book to call their own thanks to Jennifer and Bess.
I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer many times for Bess the Book Bus. Watching what Jennifer does first hand is a magical, inspiring and heart warming experience. I must admit that I've had to hide my tears on that bus a few times when i watch child after child light up when they realize that this brand new book that they have chosen is there's to keep! Jenn is a brilliant story teller, an amazing woman and has created such a wonderful non-profit company. Bess is the little bus that could. I can't imagine a child not owning a book. Jennifer not only makes that happen but through her fantastic story telling, she encourages a natural love for reading. Go Bess!
Bess the book bus is a blessing for so many children. She brings access of the love of reading to schools and children that are thirsty for books, but may not have the means to purchase books. As a teacher I've seen the delight first hand when my students picked out their very own book!!! The best part is they get to escape whatever they may be facing, often times poverty and other challenges that go along with it, into a world of reading!!!
I give away books on the school bus I drive in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bess met with me on her National Tour and generously donated several boxes of appropriate books for me to give as I do, to individual students on a day-by-day basis, as well as GREAT picks of hers for me to pass on to a couple of local after-school learning programs. She is a passionate promoter of love of literacy. Her enthusiasm and dedication are infectious, her generosity of time, energy and resources inspirational. I can't think of a better way to allocate your donation dollars than to Back the Bus!
Review from Guidestar
Bess the Book Bus came to our town and had event at the Boys and Girls Club--after a darling little girl got off the bus, she asked very timidly--"Can I really keep these books?" The kids were thrilled to get the books and Jennifer helping them pick out just the right book to interest them. She isprovidint such a wonder resourse to area without book mobiles or easy access for these kids to get to a library. All the children and parents are grinning from ear to ear-it's like Christmas for them! And the parents are thrilled to see their children get a book of their own. Cannot say enough great things about this organization--I just hope she continues her outreach!!!
Bess donated over 100 books to Pepin Academies annual Camp-Read-A-Lot. The children were thrilled with the opportunity to be able to take home a book of their very own. In addition, Jen was a pleasure!
Review from Guidestar
My 13 year old son was given a Gift Certificate through Bess the Book Bus and Transitions for an eye exam and glasses. As a parent, you want your child to succeed and exceed in school and eye sight and literacy go hand in hand. Because of the G.C my son was able to get glasses and confidence. In return for the G.C my son wanted to volunteer with Bess The Book Bus and give back in some way for the glasses. He went out to the Transitions Golf Tournament in Tampa and volunteered. He came home a changed boy! He said to me," mom seeing those kids so excited about getting a book to read was overwhelming! I saw myself in each one of those kids, and to be able to put a smile on all those faces was the most amazing feeling I've ever had! Bess The Book Bus is way more than just a bus or a person giving books away. It's touching each and every spirit in those kids and giving them happiness that maybe they haven't had in a while." I've never seen my son so moved. He wants to volunteer as much as possible through the summer. Thank You Bess for touching my life and my son's life in a way that neither of us had experienced!
Review from Guidestar
My name is Concetta M Payne author of four children's books. One is very dear to my heart "Bess the Book Bus Book" co-authored by Freda Roberts. We are dedicated supporters of Bess the Book Bus, Inc. With Jennifer E Frances' endorsement our book was created. Townsend Press is a major sponsor of Bess the Book Bus, Inc. When he received a copy of our book he thought it was a great idea, and it would make sense to include the book starring Bess herself. Townsend Press financed the printing of 5000 copies to Jennifer, and it was our pleasure to donate our royalties. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the Bess book sales will benefit Jennifer's cause. It has been proven that early reading habits directly relates to scholastic achievement.
I am proud to be on the board of Bess the Book Bus. Bess is a non-profit mobile literacy outreach dedicated to getting books into the households of children who would otherwise go without. There is ample research that shows kids without books in the home are significantly more likely to spend their entire lives below the poverty line. This organization is staffed by ONE person, the visionary and founder, Jennifer Frances. Jennifer has build this organization based on a strong desire to build a love of reading in children similar to the one her grandmother, Bess, gave to her. Bess is based in Tampa, FL but is on the road across the United States annually. In 2011 she placed over 50,000 books into the hands of children in over 20 states. Her budget is minimal and focuses on maintaining the bus and keeping it fueled (the major expense). When you factor in the in-kind book donations along with those purchased, Bess distributed over $2M in product last year. It is difficult to really explain the magical quality that Bess has in these kids' lives... they light up when the bus pulls up and they are allowed to climb aboard and select their very own book. Jennifer also conducts 'read alouds' with the kids as part of her program... and the kids love it because she approaches her reading from the perspective of the child that is listening... she really understands them. You can experience Bess by going to her web site: bessthebookbus.org. This is one organization that you can have confidence is focused on the bottom line... helping children explore the world between the covers of a book.