Sleepy Dog Books partners with Mt. Pleasant Public Schools to provide new book vending machines

What’s happening: The halls of Fancher and Mary McGuire Elementary schools recently received new book vending machines thanks to a partnership with local retailer Sleepy Dog Books. The new book bending machines are part of a continued effort to support literacy in the schools and across the Mt. Pleasant community. 

Why it’s important: Jenny and Riley Justis founded Sleepy Dog Books, a boutique bookstore in downtown Mt. Pleasant, in the spring of 2022. As a community-centered retailer, they have focused on making an impact on the lives of children across Isabella County. From donating 200 stuffed animals to include within local hospital care bags, to supporting literacy efforts across the community, the book vending machines are the next step toward their organization’s mission to impact the community in positive ways.

“By providing the machines and partnering with the District to bring the latest in book titles to the halls of these schools, we are hopeful to drive student interest in reading and passion for physical books,” Jenny Justis says.

(Photo courtesy of Sleepy Dog Books)About the school’s program: With the launch of this partnership, the students at Fancher and McGuire will have access to over 300 book titles for them to earn and make their own. These book vending machines will become a new part of the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program. Students are able to earn book tokens for making positive choices in their learning environment. One token equals one book that the student gets to take home and keep.

What they’re saying: Kathleen Bunker, a fourth-grade teacher at Mary McGuire Elementary, shares, “Each time our students walk by the book machine, the conversation shifts to the books that they want to read. Reading becomes at the forefront of their minds.”

“Literacy has always been near and dear to my heart,” says Justis. “One of our goals when opening Sleepy Dog was to get books into kids' hands and this partnership with the school district is a big step in helping with that.”

(Photo courtesy of Sleepy Dog Books)Learn more: Sleepy Dog Books has their brick-and-mortar storefront in downtown Mt. Pleasant, and can also be found online. Learn more about the bookstore, the Justis family, and begin connecting with the business by visiting their website.
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With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at