Moomah the Magazine
Milk & Bookies: Meredith Alexander

Milk & Bookies: Meredith Alexander

Children's books, their stories and illustrations, can be so much more than they appear. They can be memories, reminders of stages in our lives, morals that we live by, and dreams that we hold. At Moomah we love to say that "a book is not over just because you've reached the last page." We choose to use our older books and recylce them into crafted treasures as a keep sake for ourselves and our children. But what about those children who never even get to the first page?

Meredith Alexander has found not only a way to put your old books to use, but a way to highlight the beauty of books, expose more children to literacy, and teach children a fun and exciting way to "give back" through their favorite books.

Originally from Vancouver, but raised in Beverly Hills, California, Meredith Alexander watched her mother fundraise for cancer research for as long as she can remember. “Leaving this world better than you found it” became both Meredith’s motto and what she hopes will become her legacy. She spent time living in London and studying floral design, before becoming a published author (her book "It Girl's Guide to Video celebrates her love of old movies, fashion and screwball rom-coms), and starting the path towards being a philanthropist.

Mother of two boys, Meredith, is passionate about children’s books, crafting, big dogs and all things dark chocolate. Wanting more community service type activities to do as a family, in 2004 Meredith founded Milk + Bookies, a national non-profit for service learning and children’s literacy.

At Milk + Bookies events, boys and girls are provided the opportunity to select, purchase and inscribe books that are then donated to their peers who do not have access to books of their own. The events feature music, story time and, of course, milk and cookies. While the book donations are imperative to the mission, just as important is instilling the seed of giving into each host and their young guests, sparking feelings of importance, self-confidence and the desire to give.

Launching both Milk + Bookies, as well as the BOOKIES BRAVO AWARD, has allowed Meredith to spend lots of justified time reading every picture book and fulfilling her dream of being a children’s book editor. Meredith believes that if all children knew how wonderful giving felt, they would continue to recreate that feeling for themselves throughout their lives which, in turn, would create a better world for all. Working with Milk + Bookies inspires just that.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF?

My INTENTION to be a present parent. I don’t always achieve it, but in my heart it is my priority and I come to it very easily - in the same way I wished I could easily “look at the silver lining” or “send good thoughts to the person who cut me off in traffic” - these ones are harder to remember and act on, but the mommy in me is stronger than anything else and even when I know the word “intention” can be a cop out, for me and with this, it is true and deep. Even when I screw up, I hope my boys know that they are the VIPS everyday.

SOMETHING SMALL IN YOUR LIFE THAT GIVES YOU BIG PLEASURE?

A hug from my husband, gnomes in a garden, baking cookies, kids in frenchy striped long sleeves, finding the perfect gift, my boys in hysterical laughter, clean up after a mega craft session, people who tell me that they’ve had a Milk + Bookies party and loved exposing their kids to giving back.

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THAN YOU WOULD LIKE TO?

Pinterest. I always knew I was a visual person and before Pinterest I would impatiently scroll blogs only to see the pretty pictures, but this has now become a bit problematic. Always looking for ways to get my kids OFF the computer, yet I am drawn like a moth to the flame to see a picture of a Tee Pee or pin a beautifully fonted quote on living in the moment. How on earth can I keep the boys away from the “magic screen” if I am hypnotized by the beauty of my boards?

TELL US YOUR DIRTY LITTLE SECRET...

I HATE the bagpipes!! HATE HATE - seriously it sounds like a dying duck with bronchitis and the vibrations hurt my inner core. My 11 year old takes bagpipe lessons and is obsessed. He deeply loves it. I thought I should write the answer to “What do you like most about yourself” is my selflessness to let him study this insane excuse for music, but then, I realized that letting him take lessons is what I like least about myself. Can I ever tell him how I feel?

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ITEMS IN YOUR CLOSET?

I love a few random articles of clothing; wellies (hello, I live in LA where it rains 3 times a year), a perfect canvas tote bag, and aviators (prescription since I’m blind as a bat) and, voila!, I feel like the most classically chic person in the room. Luckily, since my office if full of spunky-smart college interns, everyone else in the room is under 22 and because I’m not wearing short shorts and platforms (you’re welcome), I have no competition in my preppy style fashion fantasy world. I would like to say I shop at APC and Steven Alan, but truthfully, I shop at J.Crew and the Gap. But try to pull off looking like APC and Steven Alan.

YOUR FAVORITE CUISINE?

If only I were Japanese, life would be perfect. I could watch nothing but Miyazaki movies with my kids (which we pretty much do anyway) and eat sushi daily. Aside from the impending risk of mercury poisoning and the fact that the good places are a bit pricey, I still eat as much raw fish with rice as I can. My favorite is Sugar Fish, but I will happily go almost anywhere - although, I shouldn’t say anywhere since it’s not like what they say about pizza and sex, that “even when it’s bad it’s good” - not true for sushi - and let’s be honest, it’s not really true for sex, either, is it?

what's something you would love to give up?

Eating sweets like I’m a 6th grader at a sleep-over. Not sure why (maybe my therapist is) but I am in such strong denial approaching my mid- forties that I think I am the only person who needn’t watch what they eat. Or exercise. Maybe it’s because I live in LA and I want to be a non- conformist? I seen SO many people I know take the health thing really far and since mama loves her chocolate, why not just go the other direction and embrace it heartily?

who's your girl crush?

Maira Kalman. Her art makes me smile. I love the way she is always looking at life and celebrating, or at least acknowledging, the little things. Plus, it makes me feel way more cultured/ intellectual than I really am to read her books and see her work. *Extra Credit: she has a Wheaten Terrier, and so do I.

if you could give advice to your teenage self, what would it be?

Recently, I had to take my written driving test to renew my license. I realized that I was standing in the same exact location, and even the same line, as when I had taken it for the first time on my 16th birthday. I wondered what it would be like if she (my 16 year old self) were standing next to me and what would she think of how we turned out so far. I wish she knew the power of the feminine mystique and the value of confidence. I spent so much time in those years wondering if this boy liked me or if that boy thought I was pretty enough or what I should do differently to help that along. I wish I had felt empowered just being a loving and happy girl and all that that offers. I feel like lots of that time was wasted not feeling “good enough”. This might be why I have to fight back tears when I read the tag line of Moomah “and know you are doing enough”.

what's the best part of doing what you do?

When I see the faces of the children donating books, and see them really knowing that they have made a difference in the life of another child, this look is easily the best part of what I do. That visceral experience of helping others is such a huge piece of humanity and one that some people don’t experience until they are adults, or sometimes maybe even never (how awful). I firmly believe that the intoxication of this feeling can make everyone a philanthropist. Helping others is why, I believe, we are here so we really can’t do it enough.



 

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Posted in: Discover & Learn   Make A Difference   

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