7:26 p.m. PST December 18, 2015
When Book Bin East manager Paul Boers showed up in Anjolie Palmer’s fifth-grade class on Wednesday, she didn’t know what was going on.
Boers went to Eagle Charter School in Salem this week to present Anjolie with a book signed by her favorite author.
Inside the hardcover copy of “Crenshaw,” author Katherine Applegate wrote, “For Anjolie the Amazing, with gratitude and admiration. XO Katherine Applegate.”
Anjolie received the gift after having gone the extra mile to help those in need.
A few weeks ago, Anjolie learned that Book Bin East was competing to bring one of her favorite authors to Salem.
The store was one of almost 100 independent bookstores across the country vying to bring in the most items for their local food pantry, for the Crenshaw Food Drive contest.
The prize for the top store was a visit by award-winning children’s author, Katherine Applegate.
Anjolie has been an Applegate fan since she read the author’s “The One and Only Ivan” as part of last year’s Oregon Battle of the Books competition.
Working with teacher Jason Kline, Anjolie organized a food drive for her class that later expanded to include other students in the school.
In the end, Anjolie brought in three boxes of nonperishable food — roughly 150 items.
Book Bin staff said they were impressed with what Anjolie and her classmates achieved.
“It was such a nice surprise to get those donations at the end of our drive,” Boers said. “We had no idea they were doing this. The fact that Anjolie and her classmates pulled together like is on their own initiative is amazing.”
The book store was so touched by Anjolie’s efforts, they coordinated with Applegate’s publicist to get a personally signed version of “Crenshaw” by Applegate.
Paul showed up with Anjolie’s mother and a few others to present her with the book, wrapped in sparkling, purple, tissue paper, along with a gift certificate to the store.
When she and her classmates realized what the gift was, they all gasped.
“I want something from Katherine Applegate!” one student said. “I’m so jelly (jealous)!” said another.
Many of the students gathered around Anjolie’s desk to see the book.
“This is really cool,” she said. “I’ve always been in love with her books. I’ve imagined in my mind that I would meet an author, but I didn’t know I was close to meeting her.”
The Book Bin stores collected 800 items in store in addition to Anjolie’s contributions, and enough cash donations to buy another 1,200 items at Roth’s Fresh Markets and Grocery Outlet. All was given to Marion-Polk Food Share.
While Book Bin East did not win outright, their 2,663 items were enough to qualify as runners-up in the contest. As such, they will receive a virtual visit from the author via Skype next year.
“We’re happy we did it,” Boers said. “We would have loved to win, but our main goal was to connect with our community. Getting to work with people like Anjolie was our biggest reward.”