Immokalee author on mission to bring books, learning to children

Lori Snell is an Immokalee teacher, a pastor, and now, she’s a published author on a mission to bring books to children across the area.

“I’m in the position to give away over 500 books,” Snell said. “I want them in all of Collier County schools, but I want them around not even the country — the world!”

This all started after Snell spent more than two decades of teaching in Immokalee, and saw a need to better help her second grade students learn mathematics.

“In social studies and in science, there’s always books that we can read before we go into a lesson,” Snell said. “But, I didn’t see enough of that in math, so I thought ‘Create your own stories.’”

Snell then wrote her own interactive math books, “Something’s Fishy about Subtraction” and “Eduardo had a Grape Math Day.”

After publishing the books, her next step was personally putting them in the hands of every second grade student in her classroom, but she isn’t stopping with that gesture. Snell is giving out copies of her books to every second grade classroom in Immokalee.

“We’ve given books to two schools,” Snell said. “Soon I’ll be contacting other schools.”

Several local businesses believe in Snell’s mission and have sponsored classrooms in the area. Thanks to those contributions, too more schools will get books later in January.

Snell says it was also important to her that her books include multicultural characters.

“A lot of schools like the Immokalee schools and intercity schools and the rural schools, you have a very mixed population of kids,” Snell said. “And sometimes when they open up stories, they don’t always find kids who remind them of themselves.”

Snell says her books also help students learning English as a second language understand how to add numbers, and assist all readers in becoming stronger learners.

“Mrs. Snell read to me ‘Eduardo Had A Great Math Day,’ and I liked the book because Eduardo didn’t know how to add and then his mom taught him,” second grader Adassa Ferdinand said.

Ferdinand is one of many recipients of Snell’s books. Her Pinecrest Elementary School classmate, Jaqueline Lopez, said the book helped her get better at math as well.

“I thought that it was awesome, and i’m excited,” Lopez said.

Snell said she hopes the books become the start of children’s home library, so they spend more time reading outside of school.

“I’m trying to spread the love of literacy and math in a fun and inviting way,” Snell said.

The books are using bright colors to empower bright futures for children.

For more information about Snell and her new books, visit her website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee