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Local bookstore’s work in schools recognized

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Kenny Brechner with students at Cascade Brook School.
Kenny Brechner of Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, is in the classroom with students at Cascade Brook School.
Kenny Brechner received the 2015 MSBA Business Friend of Education Award for his store's work in several local school district on Friday night.
Kenny Brechner receives the 2015 MSBA Business Friend of Education Award for his store’s work in several local school districts on Friday.

AUGUSTA – The owner of a downtown bookstore was recognized by a statewide education association Friday, for his work in nearly a dozen local school districts.

Kenny Brechner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers on Broadway received the 2015 MSBA Business Friend of Education Award by the Maine School Management Association Friday at the organization’s annual fall conference. The award is given to companies that have made “significant contributions to public education.” Any Maine company or organization can be nominated.

Brechner and DDG Booksellers run programs in 10 school districts. Among these are community reader initiatives that bring authors into the schools to read to students; one of these such programs was specifically cited by RSU 18 central Maine, which nominated Brechner for the award.

In presenting Brechner with the award before an audience of school board members and superintendents from across the state, MSBA President Becky Fles, noted his extensive work in schools.

“For the past 13 years, Mr. Brechner has been instrumental in the success of the Community Read literacy program at Messalonskee Middle School. He suggests book titles; makes the books available at extremely low costs; and, somehow convinces the authors to donate their time to speak to students, either through in-person visits to the school or over Skype,” Fles said.

“He also writes a digital newsletter that connects books in all content areas to the Common Core standards and facilitates book clubs for adults and children in his book store and in local schools in the Farmington area,” she said.

DDG Booksellers runs a review program that brings advanced reading copies of upcoming books into classrooms. Students write reviews of the book, which are then published. The bookstore also runs a Wish List program to benefit local libraries.

“We’ve just tried to dedicate ourselves to bringing a love of reading into the classroom,” Brechner said on Saturday. He added that his work in local schools is one of his favorite things about running a bookstore.

“The store is turning 25 in May,” he noted, “and working to develop literacy outreach programs with the school districts is the most rewarding aspect of my job.”

DDG Booksellers received the Pannell Award in April 2014 for similar reasons. Established in 1983, the award is co-sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association and the Penguin Young Readers Group and given annually to an independent bookstore which “enhance[s] their communities by bringing exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading in their young patrons.”

DDG Booksellers was the first Maine business to win the award.

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