radcliff elementary school
Radcliff Elementary School student Isabella Zaragoza received a copy of a newly released book, “La Especialidad de Sofia,” on Monday. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Dozens of Radcliff Elementary School students on Monday got a dual surprise: a berry feast from Driscoll’s, along with a free children’s book recently produced by the Watsonville-based company.

The book—“A Sofia Special”—tells the story of a young girl whose bad day at school improves once she gets home and shares a berry treat with her father.   

The visit included a read-aloud by the book’s author, award-winning children’s book author Julie Falatko. 

Driscoll’s, which grows and sells its ubiquitous berries around the world, partnered with Washington, DC-based Reading is Fundamental (RIF) in making the book.

In addition to Radcliff, the company brought its berry-fest to Starlight Elementary in Watsonville and to Virginia Rocca Barton School in Salinas.

radcliff elementary school
Radcliff Elementary School student Mathew Aguire shows his English copy of the book “A Sofia Special.” Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the schools,” said RIF President and CEO Alicia Levi. “Driscoll’s is a local organization, and they are investing in children’s literacy in the communities that they serve.”

In addition to “A Sofia Special,” the children also chose another kids’ book to bring home. Such advocacy of placing books in children’s hands is particularly important in communities where many may not have books in their homes, Levi said. 

“Reading is about engagement, it’s about frequency and it’s about motivation,” she said. “Every child should have the opportunity to read. And how do we make sure that they can read? We engage them, we make reading fun, we create joy, and that is really what RIF is all about.”

Alejandra Sanchez, Driscoll’s Sustainability and Social Impact Marketing Manager, said that one focus area for the company’s philanthropy arm is childhood development. 

The entire marketing team had a hand in developing the book, which was inspired by Driscoll’s “Sweetness Worth Sharing” campaign.  

“It’s a big part of our philanthropy and charitable giving focus areas in the communities where we operate, and we really looked at this opportunity as a way to focus on literacy with the partnership with RIF,” she said. 

“A Sofia Special” is available in English and Spanish in bookstores and on Amazon. It will soon be translated into other languages.

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/



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