Books Are Gems
Books Are GEMS...Books Are GEMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is **to inspire children and empower families through literacy**. We serve families in El Paso & Ft. Bliss, TX and Southern New Mexico. We Provide "Free Books!" to every Child from Toddler to 18 yrs that visits our storefront every week!

Causes: Community Advocacy, Education, Youth


Books Are GEMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is **to inspire children and empower families through literacy**. We serve families in El Paso & Ft. Bliss Texas and Southern New Mexico. Our main program has changed because of COVID to “Free Bag of Books” for children! Every Bag contains one New Book and several gently used books and is given “Free” each week to every child whose parent visits our bookstore!


Our vision is to see a book in the hand of every child in our community. By putting a book into the hand of every child in our community, we are changing lives one book at a time. Our goal is to make books accessible to all children and their parents, thereby increasing literacy, fluency and comprehension in both children and their parents. We belive that every child is worthy of owning books!


Books Are GEMS is the story of 16-year-old Gracie Elizabeth Madriles (GEM), her mother Paula, and their love of books.

It begins with an ending. The passing of Gracie in a car accident on September 21, 2002. It is the catalyst for the creation of Books Are GEMS - Paula Madriles’ Labor of love.

After Gracie’s death, Paula received food, flowers and monetary donations from family and friends. As a teacher working in South El Paso - she understood the hardships her students faced. And she knew that families and teachers lacked resources for simple pleasures - specifically books.

During her mourning, Paula chose to honor her daughter’s spirit of love and generosity by enriching the lives of others through books. She spent the donations at yard sales and thrift stores, buying books and educational materials to give to teachers and students.

Paula’s devotion and vision inspired many individuals and organizations to support her mission. In 2003, Books Are GEMS became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization - providing free books to children and educational resources to teachers – ensuring that Gracie’s legacy lives on.

Our Progress
Our Goal $3,000
Total Amount Raised
Number of Donations
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