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David GaygenJul 9, 2024 9:24:31 AM2 min read

How a Book Vending Machine is Transforming Pediatric Care

How a Book Vending Machine is Transforming Pediatric Care

In the pediatric unit of Staten Island University Hospital's Florina Cancer Center, an unexpected ally has emerged in the battle against childhood illness. Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine, an innovative literacy tool, donated by Grandma's Love Inc., is changing the hospital experience for young patients one book at a time.

A Novel Approach to Comfort

On January 9, 2023, Grandma's Love Inc. unveiled a unique addition to the hospital's pediatric unit - a vending machine that dispenses books instead of snacks. Children receiving treatment can now select a free book to accompany them during their appointment and take home afterwards.

“We do book vending machines as part of our literacy program to promote reading and comprehension,” Grandma’s Love Inc. Executive Director Theresa Monforte-Caraballo told “We put them in hospitals to give them a better visit, make them more comfortable and there is an incentive for them to take home a free book.”

Grandma's Love and Nicotra Group donate Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine to Staten Island University Hospital

The Power of Partnership

This initiative is a testament to the power of community collaboration. Grandma's Love Inc., a non-profit dedicated to combating childhood hunger and promoting literacy, joined forces with Staten Island University Hospital to bring this project to life. The Nicotra Group has committed to keeping the 250-book capacity machine fully stocked, ensuring a continuous supply of free books for young patients.

Kristine Albano Farliisi, COO of The Nicotra Group and Executive Director of the Lois and Richard Nicotra Foundation  had this to say in a FaceBook post:

"A gift of kindness in a Borough filled with LOVE...and BOOKS! Team Nicotra met Theresa Monforte-Caraballo, founder of Grandma's Love Inc., thanks to our friend, Joe Dai. Theresa told us about a donation she wanted to make - a Book Vending machine so children could get a free book. We chatted about where the machine would be most appreciated and do the most good - and then reached out to our friends at Northwell Health to make an introduction and build a relationship.The Lois & Richard Nicotra Foundation and our LOVE Staten Island group will work to keep the Book Vending machine full."


Nicotra Group Facebook Post


More Than Just Books

While the primary goal is to provide comfort and distraction during hospital visits, the impact of this project extends far beyond the hospital walls. By offering free books, the initiative removes financial barriers to reading, especially for low-income families. It promotes literacy, fosters a love for reading, and supports children's educational development.

Grandma's Love sponsors Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine

A Beacon of Hope

For many children, hospital visits can be intimidating and stressful. The book vending machine serves as a beacon of hope and normalcy in an otherwise clinical environment. It offers a moment of joy, a chance to choose, and an opportunity to escape into the pages of a good book.

Staten Island University Cuts the ribbon on Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine

Looking Ahead

The success of this initiative at Staten Island University Hospital paves the way for similar projects in other healthcare facilities.

As Theresa Monforte-Caraballo, Executive Director of Grandma's Love Inc., puts it, "For us, it is very important that children have access to free books and one of the best places is a hospital."


Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machine reminds us of the enduring power of books. It's not just dispensing stories; it's distributing hope, comfort, and the joy of reading to those who need it most.


To learn more about Grandma's Love and their dedication to making books accessible to kids, tune in to their episode of the Reading Revolution Podcast. 


David Gaygen

There is something exciting about a book vending machine. Everyone who hears about it, instantly wants to be a part of it—and that is David's favorite part of the job. In addition to being the community manager and content creator at, he also enjoys being part of the Reading Revolution Podcast. Read. Reward. Inspire. That's what it's all about. Join David and this ever-growing community of educators and literacy champions at