What We Do

Teen Literacy Events, Teen Lit Boxes, and Community Bookshelves across Los Angeles County and Long Beach.

Teen Literacy Events

The Book Truck holds Literacy Events throughout Los Angeles and every year, we give thousands of books to teens in underserved communities. We bring our truck to events at high schools and teen service organizations all over the city. The Book Truck also plans special visits to larger youth resource fairs such as YALLWEST Book Festival and United Friends of the Children’s College Within Reach. Our Literacy Events are staffed by trained teen volunteers who come from all across LA, including from the communities we serve.

Teen Lit Boxes

Our Lit Boxes are filled with diverse, high-quality, high-interest books and literacy materials, and are being hand delivered to homeless, foster care, and low-SES (socio-economic status) service organizations and high schools across Long Beach and throughout LA County. They are our Literacy Events in a box, which means they are peer-driven and interactive! Every box is carefully curated for each individual site so no two boxes are alike. Our Lit Boxes remove the barriers to reading so that even the most reluctant reader picks up a book.

Community Bookshelves

Our Community Bookshelves are housed at community organizations, public facilities, and schools that serve homeless, foster care, and low-SES (socio-economic status) teens. They are equipped with literacy materials and a complete giveaway library. As always, we give books with a “no strings attached” policy. Because our goal is to get books into the community, kids are welcome to return and exchange books from the collection, share them with peers in their neighborhood, or keep them for themselves.

Literacy Workshops for Adult Supervisors and Mentors

In addition to materials for teens, our Lit Boxes contain literacy resources geared towards mentors and staff at the teen service organizations, homeless facilities/shelters, and high schools we serve. We are also now providing free Zoom workshops to these adult educators and supervisors. Through our literacy engagement materials and workshops, we are helping adults participate in engaging teens in reading and improving their literacy skills.

What teens are saying about The Book Truck’s young adult literacy programs:

“I think reading is important because it expands our minds and gives us a new perspective on life. It also helps us forget about our problems and have a good educational experience.”


“It helps me imagine things that take me out of reality. Read to Dream.”


“Reading is important because it’s another world you can escape to.  I read so that I can stay away from drugs.”


How we Organize our Books

We want all teens to feel comfortable browsing our shelves, no matter how much time they’ve spent around books in the past. To that end, our books are organized into teen-friendly genre categories with corresponding, easy to identify icons. (For example, realistic romance novels are labeled with a heart while dystopian thrillers are marked with a skull and cross bones). This guides teens to books they’re most likely to enjoy, which empowers them with the confidence to discover more titles on their own. It also gives them a vocabulary to talk about the types of books they like, so that they feel comfortable going into a library or bookstore and asking for help finding something to read.