Fourth-Grade Book Project

Every spring since 2017, the Olseth Family Foundation and Greater Mankato Area United Way have provided approximately 1,700 brand-new, hard copy books of Shel Silverstein’s "Where the Sidewalk Ends" to fourth-grade students throughout Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties. Volunteers love the opportunity to deliver books directly to students and spend time reading aloud together.

THANK YOU to the Olseth Family Foundation for this generous support and continued partnership.

Contact us to get involved with this initiative!


Where the Sidewalk Ends Book

Mood Swing Poem

Letter and Poem from Jon Olseth of the Olseth Family Foundation (2020)

Dear 4th Graders,

I am so happy to able to share this book of poems with you.

Where the Sidewalk Ends was one of my favorite books to read when I was a kid – and I have spent many hours reading these same poems out loud to my own children. I think you will enjoy sharing them with those in your life too.

I am sorry that I am unable to deliver these books to you and your class in person so that we could read a few out loud together. But since we can’t do that, I have written a poem for you instead. I think I wanted to write this poem for you because we all have so many moods – so many emotions – and they change so often. Our feelings go up and down – kind of like being on a swing.

Sometimes, sharing poems or writing poems helps us understand those feelings. And sometimes, I know, reading poems is just goofy and fun. Whatever the reason, poems are always best when we read them together.


Jon Olseth