On any given day in San Diego
County, it is possible to spot a swarthy, good-looking,
authentically dressed pirate, driving a 25-foot, whimsically
decorated retired medical vehicle loaded with 5,000 children’s
books. That would be Captain Book aboard the Good Ship Literacy
on his way to or from a performance that includes giving free
books to children who may not otherwise have them. Remembering
his own struggles as a young reader, Captain Book is dedicating
his retirement years to inspiring young kids to read.
Morris Pike, the retired
university professor who doubles as Captain Book, conceived the
idea of treasure chests and free books as a literacy project
during his 2000/2001 term as a Kiwanis of Greater Encinitas club
president. It was not long after, that Pike, who holds a
doctorate in theater, created the good pirate Captain Book.
“I surveyed the community and
concluded that literacy was not only a good cause, but something
our club could do,” Pike said. “Today, we average more than 70
visits a year to Head Starts, libraries and public school
classrooms, we deliver free books to different schools each
month for teachers to put in their classroom libraries and the
Kiwanis Club of Greater Encinitas selects a teacher of the month
to receive a $100 gift certificate for books.”
Born in Texas and raised in
Oregon, Dr. Pike earned a Masters in Education at the University
of Oregon and a Doctorate in Theater at Kent State University.
He taught both grade school and high school in Cottage Grove,
Oregon, college at Cascade College in Portland, Oregon and
Malone College in Canton, Ohio. He retired in 1998, after
teaching 18 years at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa,
Today, Pike operates on a theory
based on a study by Science Direct.
"It has always been a given to me
that books are vital to children's success in school,” Pike
said. “I was thrilled to recently find a rigorous study by a
reputable scientific community that corroborates my belief that
the more books you find in the home the more likely the child
will succeed in school. Since 2005, when I started keeping
track, we have given away tens of thousands of free books. Our
motivation to continue our literacy program is the strong belief
that putting books in the hands of children will make a
A recipient of many service awards
and honors, Pike's hobbies include photography, woodworking,
gardening, jewelry making and writing fiction. In addition to
directing scores of plays, he has written, produced and directed
a number of sketches and musicals during his teaching career
including The Eighth from Adam and a modern allegory about Noah.
He has written three novels and several children’s stories for
his grandchildren. He currently writes
Stories for Kids & Up for
Country Traveler Online.
Pike lives in Encinitas California.
Read stories by Dr. Pike at
Country Traveler Online.