Arsonist Strikes Montessori Children’s House in Horsham

Dear GHCC Members,

A member of our community has suffered a devastating loss. The Montessori Children’s House in Horsham was the recent target of arson. The Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce is organizing a book drive to help rebuild their library. Please read the letter below that we received from Nona Melnick, Principal of the Montessori Children’s House, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Dear Joanne and Mary,

Thank you so much for your offer to help the Montessori Children’s House of Horsham to rebuild our school library.   As you requested, what follows is an explanation of the circumstances leading to our request for assistance.  Your response to our need is overwhelming, and we greatly appreciate the community’s help!

On August 8th at 2:30am, our school was the victim of arson, and our outdoor storage shed was destroyed.  The shed contained the games, arts and crafts materials, and many other items crucial to our annual spring festival which is our primary fundraiser to raise money for our school’s scholarship program.   Even more heart-wrenching is that the fire spread to the interior of our building, and our school library went up in flames.  We lost over 2,000 books, all of our library furnishings, and the roof of the building.

We are grateful that no one was injured in the fire and that we should be able to start our school year on time as the repairs are being worked on around the clock by a wonderful crew.  However, we are devastated that we will not be able to start the year with a library for our students.  The library program at Horsham Montessori is one of the highlights of our students’ experience here at school.  The children visit the library every week to choose a book, have it stamped, and take it home to share with their families.  They learn how to care for borrowed books, and they take great pride and joy in using their school library. Historically, many of the books for our library have come from donations that the children’s parents make to honor their children on their birthdays.  We put book plates into each book commemorating the child and the family’s donation, and they are a treasured part of our library.  Additional books came from other outside donations and from our participation in Scholastic Book Fairs.

We are working hard to complete the immediate safety repairs required in order to be able to open our school year on time.   We also are working diligently to collect book donations to start refilling our bookshelves and are doing everything we can to reopen the library space to our students as quickly as possible.  However, we know it will take some time to rebuild to what had required years of collecting to establish the quality library we could offer our students onsite.

The books from our library included fiction and non-fiction, and represented some of the best in children’s literature.  While it is difficult to list all of the authors and book titles, Below is a booklist of appropriate materials for our school of toddlers through kindergarteners.

Thank you, again, for all of your help.  We are truly grateful!


Nona Melnick, M.Ed
Montessori Children’s House
220 Upland Ave.
Horsham, PA  19044
(T) 215-957-1571 (F) 215-957- 1387

Below is just a sampling of some of the authors and titles that make up a great library.  In general, our school welcomes books for children ages 18 months through 6-years-old concentrating on the themes of:

Multiculturalism (holidays, people and animals from different lands, foods and festivals, etc.)
Transportation (planes, trains, automobiles, boats, etc.)
Animals (farm, zoo, jungle, pets, reptiles, insects, etc.)
Poetry and songs
The Four Seasons
Health/Human Body

For more specific titles and authors, we have added selected titles from 100 Best Books List from the Teacher’s First Website:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Books for Preschoolers – More Preschool Titles from TeachersFirst / TeachersAndFamilies

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Books for Children Ages 4-8 – More Primary Reading from TeachersFirst / TeachersAndFamilies

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch

Books may be dropped off at the Days Inn Horsham, 245 Easton Road in Horsham, 24 hours a day at the front desk. Please include your business card with your donation. Monetary donations should be made payable to the Montessori Children’s House and mailed directly to them c/o Nona Melnick, 220 Upland Avenue, Horsham, PA 19044.

Please feel free to share this information with your business associates, neighbors and friends.
We sincerely appreciate your support.

JoAnne Zapata
Co-Founder and President

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