After losing young daughter, family donates her books to “magic book bus”

GREENEVILLE, TN (WJHL) – A year ago this month, one Tri-Cities family lost their 22-month-old daughter to cancer. Now the family is giving back to the community that surrounded them during their most difficult time.

Penelope McCall suffered from severe epilepsy, then last year got an unrelated cancer diagnosis. She passed away in June of 2016.

“I have never seen a community come together as much as they did for us, and they still do,” Penelope’s Mom Ellen McCall said.

Now her family is taking her books, and giving them to a new reading program for kids in Greene County called the “magic book bus,” a mobile book library that will give kids access to books across Greene County this summer.

“It’s been rough. It’s been hard. Doing things like this kind of keeps us busy and keeps our mind off of it a little bit,” McCall said.

“I’ve always loved to read and so I love to give kids that opportunity, it’s surprising how many kids don’t have access to books.”

The McCalls also collected over 100 books from their friends and family.  “We had special bookplates made in honor of Penelope, so when a child checks out an Imagination Library book on the book bus it will have Penelope’s name on it,” Ruth Burkey, coordinator for Imagination Library Greene County said.

McCall said above all, what she wants people to remember about her little girl is how she loved. “Penelope was so different, but we loved her just the way that she was, I don’t want people to see disability,” McCall said. “I think she did a wonderful job of showing everyone you can love without seeing those differences.”

The mobile book library launches Monday, it will make stops across Greene County over the summer. You can click here to see a list of those stops:

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