Santa Clara University

Markkula Center

Give a Child a Book

How to build character for a lifetime


Do you remember the first time you read Lord of the Flies? Of Mice and Men? The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? The deep moral messages of these books stay with many people for a lifetime.

That’s the experience the Center’s Character-Based Literacy (CBL) Curriculum is designed to invoke in the hundreds of middle and high school classes where it is in use. CBL combines teaching reading with teaching ethics. Characters in great literature serve as role models, who may exhibit the virtues of responsibility, courage, or justice.

But not every school that uses the CBL curriculum can easily afford the wonderful books at its core. The Center works with some of the nation’s poorest schools, where providing a classroom set of To Kill a Mockingbird or The Circuit may be a major financial stretch.


This holiday season, you can give a child in one of these districts a book—or two. Just log onto our Amazon Wishlist and pick out your favorites. When you order, the books will be sent to the Center for distribution to participating schools in need.

kristiThe Center’s CBL program has benefited from several gifts from the Markkula Family Foundation, which has long supported our work. Foundation Director Kristi Bowers says, "If there’s one philanthropic area where you get a lot of bang for your buck, it’s working with children. When you change the trajectory of a kid who is not on track to finish his education, that doesn’t just change the child’s life; that changes all of our lives."

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