News 6 teams up with Barnes & Noble to donate Spanish-to-English books

Donated dictionaries help students who relocated after Hurricane Maria

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After Hurricane Maria, fourth-grade teacher Jeannette Valentin left Puerto Rico for Central Florida and was quickly given a job at Boggy Creek Elementary School. 

In November, she noted one simple item that was needed as families transition to the area: Spanish-to-English books. 

News 6 teamed up with Barnes & Noble to get those books into the hands of students. 

"This is like Christmas for me, especially for the students, because everything I do is for them. Whatever I can get for them is a privilege," Valentin said. 

Close to 100 Spanish-to-English and Creole-to-English books were donated. 

"We have relied on Google translator a lot, which does nothing for you. So, we learn to do a word at a time. So, this is going to be super helpful... ," said Boggy Creek Principal Rhonda McMahon.

Valentin agreed.

"This community is a blessing. I mean, adjusting has not been easy," she said. 

News 6 worked with Barnes & Noble community business development manager Angie Roix to coordinate the donations. 

For her, seeing the joy the donation brings is a gift in itself. 

"It's so heartwarming to see the smile and the teacher's face and to see the kids smile," Roix said. 

Thanks to Barnes & Noble and its holiday book drive, more books are set to be delivered to Central Florida schools later this month. 

"Absolutely, you got results. We have a very, very happy teacher. We have students who are going to really see, we'll see a difference academically with them, quicker than we would with what we were using," McMahon said.