It’s easy to take the act of curling up with a good book for granted. Or walking into a bookstore and laying out fifteen bucks for the latest release. Unfortunately not everyone is afforded these opportunities.
First Book claims there is a literary crisis in the United States. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of variety of literary resources available for young readers and the lack of funding to do anything about it. Since 1992, First Book has been attempting to improve the plight of illiteracy by providing “brand new, age-appropriate books to the children who need them most”. Since their inception they have donated 50 million books to children from low-income families throughout all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Children are being given the opportunity to grow their own library which according to the First Book website has a positive impact on their childhood and their adult lives.
First Book has a blog to keep readers updated on fund-raising, author guest spots, requests for need, educational opportunities and a little bit of bragging.
Author and Celebrity Favorites
I was surprised how interested I was in this section with clips from writers, actors and other celebrities sharing the first book that got them hooked on reading. People such as David Duchovny, Edward Norton, Rebecca Romijn, Bow Wow, Elizabeth Gilbert, Lisa Loeb, Amy Hest and more (about 40 or so).
If you work for an institution that is in need of books you can register to receive books. If you are a book publisher you can register to supply books. If you have some time you can register to volunteer. And of course if you have the funds you can register to donate.
Millions of children are able to benefit from donations because every donated $1 is worth $10 in books. Wouldn’t it be great if math worked like that everywhere in the world?
They have their own online book store where they offer children’s books to children’s institutions at a discounted price. Each month they feature a new selection of what they deem acceptable and inspirational books.
Recently they polled 100,000 people on what book got them hooked on reading and created a top 100 list with the results. The top 10 classics include:
- Nancy Drew (Carolyn Keene)
- Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss)
- Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
- Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
- The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss)
- The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
- Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
- The Poky Little Puppy (Janette Sebring Lowrey)
- Go, Dog, Go! (P. D. Eastman)
- Are You My Mother? (P. D. Eastman)
You can use the Amazon search box at the bottom of this article to learn more about these books. Be sure to check out the First Book website for other great memories or to provide your kids with a list of must reads for them to check off.
This article first appeared in 8/29/2009 on Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.