Fourth-Grade Book Project

Fourth-Grade Book Project


Each year, the Olseth Family Foundation has given a grant to United Way to provide nearly 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.

This Year (2020)

United Way CEO Barb Kaus presents Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" to 1,700 fourth-graders throughout the region as part of our annual Fourth-Grade Book Project, made possible through the Olseth Family Foundation. Because we could not present the books in person, Jon Olseth wrote a poem especially for this year's students.


Olseth Book Donation May 28, 2020

Letter and Poem from Jon Olseth of the Olseth Family Foundation:

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