Kids affected by Harvey are sharing videos reading their favorite books. It's adorable.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, schools in and around Katy, Texas, only planned to be closed for a day or two.

Once the storm made landfall and subsequently flooding began, second-grade reading teacher Kathryn Mills says everyone quickly realized the impact would be much, much larger.

"Several of our students have been displaced. Several of our teachers have had to evacuate. There's flooding in some of the schools. The district support center is under water," she says. All they can do is wait and see; school could be closed for weeks — or longer.


Kathryn Mills. Image from Kathryn Mills' Facebook.

From her home outside of Katy — which is thankfully dry, as Mills lives at the top of a hill — she was moved by pictures of many of her students on social media taking shelter in bathrooms and staircases. She was moved even more by the fact that many of them clung to books and were reading to pass the time while they waited out the worst of the storm.

"I love books," she says. "And I love kids loving books."

With a return to school up in the air, Mills decided to harness all that educational energy and keep kids engaged in their reading and keep their minds off the storm.

She started an online book club. With a simple Facebook page, Mills created a space for parents and their kids to share photos and videos of them reading their favorite books while floods raged outside. They could offer each other support to keep going and, more importantly, give each other a reason to smile.

"The main purpose is just to bring some normalcy in the middle of chaos," she says. "A little sunshine in the middle of the storm."

GIF via Emily Browder/Facebook

What started as a small group for about 70 families of current and former students quickly ballooned into a community of almost 50,000 from around the world.

Videos and photos poured in from kids and parents in neighboring states and far-off countries.

GIF via Lindsay Skipper Gunn/Facebook

"Originally I wanted to go into every post and encourage the kids on how awesome they're doing," Mills says.

Now the group is way too big for that, but plenty of other people are stepping up to make the kids feel loved. The encouragement and the distraction (not to mention a little bit of internet fame) are great for the kids' morale, but Mills says she's been especially moved by the response from adults.

"I think they needed this just as much as the kids did," she says. "The message I've received is, 'I've smiled so much watching these videos.'"

There's still no telling when Houston and the surrounding areas will recover from the flooding enough for some sense of normalcy to return.

It could be a long wait. But while the adults work to put the pieces back together, the kids' job is to still be kids.

With a little help from their favorite books and the Hurricane Harvey Book Club, hopefully they can look back at this time one day and remember more than just the storm.

Most Shared
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular