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story.lead_photo.caption Families in the Standing Oaks neighborhood visit the Pea Ridge book bus. - Photo by Jason Ivester

A school bus running through the Pea Ridge community takes books to students rather than taking students to the books.

Ashley Clark, a kindergarten teacher at Pea Ridge Primary School, and Tracy Hager, assistant principal of Pea Ridge Middle School, started the project last year.

“It was an idea. And we went and asked our superintendent for a bus that we could borrow for the summer,” Hager said.

The women had to unload the bus and return it at the end of summer, but not this year. Thanks to a $5,000 school library grant through the Scholastic book company, author James Patterson and donations from the community, the bus was converted to a mobile library. Seats were removed and replaced with blue-painted shelves filled with books secured by bungee cords.

Clark, Hager and volunteer teachers take the bus to the same seven stops every Tuesday through the summer months. Children peruse books, check out a pair to be returned the following week, and then get a cold treat.

“I tell my kids this: Reading is something that no one can ever take away from you. Once you know how to read, it opens up a whole new world to you,” Clark said.

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Print Headline: Books on a bus

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