Emma Breacain of the Humboldt Literacy Project sits atop a bounty of Sara Bareilles-donated books! (No, they are not copies of Sara’s Sounds Like Me, as one might infer from this photo.) | Submitted

Yay for Sara again! The latest salvo in the LoCO-imagined, not-real battle between Sara Bareilles and Guy Fieri for “Who is Humboldt’s favorite native-born celebrity?” comes in the form of a gargantuan shipment of free books donated by the former to the Humboldt Literacy Project. Your move, Guy! 

To be clear, half of the expected 5,000 books — a selection of titles from Scholastic — have made their way to Humboldt with the other half expected next spring, HLP Executive Director Emma Breacain tells LoCO. The books will be doled out to local organizations and nonprofits with the need for such reads. (Reach out to HLP if you think your organization should benefit from such a windfall.)

More details on this victory can be found in the Humboldt Literacy Project release below: 

Eureka native, Grammy winning singer-songwriter, Tony nominated Broadway star, and current star of the network sitcom “Girls5eva” Sara Bareilles has gifted her hometown with books. Five thousand books. 

As keynote speaker at this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Bareilles was invited by Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publisher, to select a charity to receive this massive donation. Bareilles chose Humboldt Literacy Project.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude,” says HLP Executive Director Emma Breacain. “I don’t know if Ms. Bareilles realizes how far her gift will go. Of course our tutors and learners will use these books in their studies, but we also have partnerships with many other local agencies. Now that we’re coming out of various COVID restrictions, we’ll be able to have family book giveaways again soon, and to return to supplying books to local agencies that work with families and people trying to improve their skills and prospects. 

“This is an open call to re-establish the relationships with the agencies we shared books with before the pandemic, and an invitation for other organizations to call us up and let us help them out. Because honestly, we are not just overwhelmed with gratitude, we are about to be overwhelmed with about 150 boxes of books. We’ll be working to get those books out of boxes and into the hands of readers all around Humboldt County.”

An estimated 14,000 adults in Humboldt County are functionally illiterate. Since 1981, Humboldt Literacy Project has been connecting adults who wish to improve their reading and writing with adult volunteer tutors for free, confidential, one-on-one English language tutoring for native English speakers and second-language English learners. They also have regular family literacy events and book giveaways. 

Breacain says, “Ms. Bareilles has a lot of themes of courage and resilience and pride woven into her work, and I think that perfectly echoes the courage and resilience our volunteers and clients show every day, and how proud we are of them. We are going to be grateful ‘5eva’ for this wonderful gift.”

Learn more about Humboldt Literacy Project at humboldtliteracy.org, or call 707-445-3655.