Book Giveaway #2! In which I get tricky, for a good cause.

Oh boy, it’s almost March 1!  That’s the release date for Hallie Lord’s new book, Style, Sex, and Substance:  10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter.  Hallie assembled a truly swell group of writers, and also me, for this project (I wrote the chapter on motherhood).  And look, now books have TRAILERS!

You can pre-order the book here, and you can see some excerpts  here,  here, and here.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave away one copy autographed by all ten authors.  I would like to give away a second autographed book — this time with a small, optional, slightly weird catch, for an excellent cause.

Here’s the deal.  For this contest, you can enter just like you did last time, simply by leaving a comment on this post.  Doesn’t have to be witty or articulate or even sane — just say something, and you’re entered in the random drawing.

BUT.  Last time, there were nearly 500 entries, and only one winner.  Wouldn’t you, oh wouldn’t you like to increase your odds of winning this time?  How about having your name entered TEN times, instead of just once?

Here’s how:

to the fundraiser for my kids’ wonderful little charter school.  Any dollar amount will get you entered.  After you make your donation, leave a comment on this post with the words “I donated to SVCS” (no need to mention the amount, unless you want to!), and your name will be entered in the random drawing ten times.  And you will make me very happy, because I love this school, and want to see it flourish!

I’m having a really hard time describing the school.  Everything I say makes it sound impossibly idealized.  What can I say?

They have this shabby, sunny little building way out in the country.  The playground is dotted with canvas pup tents constructed by the 3rd and 4th graders, who are learning about the Civil War.  As I wait for school to let out, I see a string of kids strolling back from the village library, and a couple of boys lugging a bucket of the day’s compost for the school garden.  As I sign my kids out, the kindergartener is grinning will glee over the hand-sewn birthday crown from her teacher’s mother; the 6th grader is humming a little song about the parts of the brain; and the 4th grader is being teased and hounded by some first grade girls, who treat him like a big brother.   The hall smells like wood pulp, apples, and wool, from the various projects the kids are making.  The school’s lone TV is stored in the bathroom — because of a shortage of space, but it’s a nice illustration of how the classes are run:  The kids are too busy reading, writing, singing, playing, building, cooking, weaving, making rockets, writing plays, and just generally learning things, thoroughly and contentedly, to stare at a screen.

The kids act like kids.  They dress like kids.  They are allowed to do kid things, like play with sticks and rocks on the playground.  They aren’t straining (or being pushed) to shed their childhood.  They aren’t too cool to play with  younger kids, and they speak politely and openly to adults — no muttering or pawing the ground with their feet.

I know, I’m making it sound like the Sunshine Academy, where Maeby earned a crocodile in Spelling one year.   But their academic standards are very high, and all of their policies affecting student life are effective, compassionate, and sensible.

So naturally, they get far less money from the state than the regular public schools.

If you

you can be sure that your money will be used very, very well.  And you will have a much better chance of winning an autographed copy of this amazing book, signed by all ten authors!

The contest will close on March 8.

So, to recap:  there are two ways to be entered into the random drawing:

#1:  Just leave a comment at the end of this post, and your name will be entered.

#2:  Click on one of the “donate” buttons above, make a donation in any amount to Surry Village Charter School, and leave a comment saying “I donated to SVCS” on this post, and your name will be entered ten times.

Thank you, and good luck!


  1. Wow. If I could find a school like that, I might just send my kids there. And free to boot! I’m truly jealous.

  2. I donated to SVCS…if only because after reading your description, I was jealous enough that I needed to perform an act of penance.

    Seriously, though…I’m really happy for you and your kids that this school is available to you, and its existence gives me hope.

    • Thank you, Kevin! Sorry about the whole occasion of sin thing. I have noticed that some of the public schools in the area are starting to adopt the practices that used to be only for little private and charter schools – so yes, there is hope.

  3. I donated to SVCS! Great idea for the fundraiser—I’m a sucker for something like this, ha! I’m sure they appreciate it!

    • Thank you, Nancy! They are so extremely cool about my deadbeat ways (we’re supposed to do at least 20 hours of volunteer work, and I am, like, 20 hours behind), so I hope this does some good.

      • I’m a teacher-turned-tutor-and-homeschool-overseer and I have such respect for schools that do it right. It’s so hard to do it right, especially with these weird standards that are changing all the time, and this odd belief that teachers can “differentiate” every single lesson to reach every single student, regardless of how motivated said students are. The best schools seem to develop a curriculum that understands the knowledge that is timeless and expands the mind, and the students get sucked in whether or not they want to be. The worst schools consistently teach to the lowest common denominator, and try to break big ideas into little pieces, but a lot of times those big ideas can’t be put back together again. Kids pick up fragments of understanding, which they can’t transfer or use, and end up thinking, rightfully so, that their time at school is a waste. Throw in the average school’s perverted focus on sex ed for toddlers, and it’s a wonder there are any children to be found in schools at all.

        So, I am really glad that someone with your high standards for academics and morals has found a school that really lets kids develop the way they ought. 🙂 I wish I had access to a school like that, but our local Catholic school has standards too low, the local Catholic-but-not-archdiocesan school has Regnum Christi people involved in formation, and the local Montessori schools are $8k a year per child. The public schools are good until about 3rd grade, when the social agenda stuff gets intense and the kids start to sour. We’ll probably homeschool.

  4. As if I didn’t already think you were cool, you had to go and reference Arrested Development. Thanks for the grin today! And congratulations on finding such fantastic school for your kiddos!

    I can’t wait to read the book. Please enter me into the contest.

  5. Ah ha! …” Apples, wood pulp and wool”. I knew you were a closet hippy. Why does that make me gleeful?

      • Lol, JK. I meant MINUS the commie element. Sometimes I threaten my husband that I’m going to become a hippy (so I’m free to be a slob, but others interpret as “free spirit”) He recoils in horror Truth is, that I like makeup too much so I’d never find peer acceptance. I’m more of a priced out “Anthropologie” hippy, (who loves apples, wood pulp,wool, the farmers market and my cozy Uggz) *Awesome that yours is a charter school. It sounds like expensive “Greenwood,” in Mill Valley, minus the statues of Buddah, the elephant god, and the Virgin Mary, where there are no sins except high fructose corn syrup, and where they all learn to knit with their fingers.

  6. I’m entering! (Plus, your school sounds enchanting…that’s a good word to describe it, isn’t it…almost like a homeschool, but a real, live school.)

  7. Your school sounds great, we may consider moving in order to avoid homeschooling in a couple of years 😉

  8. I have already ordered the book but would love to have a copy to give as a gift!! I can’t wait to read it!

  9. Wow, that sounds like a wonderful school! Like you said, all the perks of homeschooling, minus the “home” part of that.

  10. I made a donation to SVCS! 🙂 I’m a new follower and I have enjoyed reading your past posts before bed every night. Looking forward to the book launch. Remember, real women wear socks with cheerios stuck to them … and pants! 😉

    • Thank you, Kempy! And wow, rereading this, I just realized that I totally stole your “Cheerios stuck to socks” joke in today’s post at the Register! Sorry about that!

  11. This looks ridiculously good. Seriously. Haven’t picked up a book in *cough cough* sometime now, Especially being pregnant with our third in under three years. But seriously, I’ll find some time somewhere. Maybe when I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Enter me, Kaitlin Finn!

  12. Simcha, I love your writing…my family knows I’m reading you when I burst out in laughter and tears (I also just had baby #3 so I’m a little on the edge these days)!

  13. Your childrens’ school sounds wonderful. My son attends a private Catholic school that is also wonderful. These small schools need so much support because they, along with caring parents, are producing such wonderful results. I cannot donate, but I would still love to win the book!

  14. What a clever way to elicit donations! I totally want that book! (Does the prospect of a reward decrease the charity in the act?)

    “I donated to SVCS”

  15. Please, please, I want a copy!! (And forgot to put it on my Amazon wish list in time for my last order so I will either a) need to win a free one or b) wait until the next time my order reaches $25 for supersaver shipping!) 🙂

  16. Thank-you for sharing your school with us. The coolness factor is in the rich dirt making they are creating with compost! And the tv shelved in the bathroom –

    how. simply. appropriate.

  17. Hi, I donated to the school!

    Maybe you can ask if they want to open a Miami, FL location?

  18. I thought I’d enter at the last minute. I love your blogs, Simcha! I’ve gotten many of my friends hooked on you! 🙂

  19. The book looks awesome, and the trailer really made me want to read it! Especially since it was banned from YouTube… 🙂

  20. I donated. My wife loves your blog, and this would be a great gift for her! She already has an unsigned copy, which she would gladly pass off to one of her zillion sisters if she had a signed copy.

  21. I would love to read this book! Maybe I can justify buying a kindle if it keeps selling out in print though….

  22. I donated to SVCS. My kids also attend a public charter school and I like to support charter schools that are doing good work.

  23. The book looks fantastic. Sorry I can’t donate, though. Tight times until the tax return comes through!

  24. If it is not too late, I would like to be entered in the contest.

    Thank you, Simcha.

  25. I donated to SVCS! Your school looks wonderful & I am so happy you have the option to send your kids there. We are hoping to send our son to Montessori school in the fall, but it’s so expensive he might only be able to go for a couple of years. Wish we had a charter school here too!

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