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Ten Sonoma State University graduate students want to bring children some comfort by replacing books they may have lost in October’s wildfires.

They’ve raised $1,000 over the past several weeks to buy hundreds of children and young adult books as part of their literacy leadership class this past semester, said MaryAnn Nickel, a SSU literacy studies and elementary education professor. She said all but three of her students teach in Sonoma County schools, and many knew children who lost homes or were evacuated during the fires and wanted to find a way to support them.

“Sometimes a good book can provide comfort in hard times,” said Julia Sudlow, one of the grad students working on the project.

In addition to raising money online, Sudlow said they collected new books from fellow students, faculty and family members. They also received a $500 donation from the college’s dean of education, she said.

Books can provide comfort and insight on how others cope with life’s challenges, Nickel said, while helping bring back a sense of balance and normality.

Nickel said they’ll be giving out about 600 to 800 books, including popular series such as Dog Man, Captain Underpants, Bad Kitty and The Baby-Sitters Club.

She said about 200 books will go to Roseland Collegiate Prep, which recently moved into a former Sebastopol Road warehouse after the Tubbs fire destroyed its school, the former Ursuline High campus.

The rest of the books will be handed out to children impacted by the fires on a first-come, first-serve basis during the Welcome Roseland Community Celebration. The festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center, 779 Sebastopol Road.

You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 707-521-5458 or

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here