I recently met the team at First Book Canada, and I’m thrilled to feature a post from this wonderful organization. First Book Canada and First Book (in the U.S.) truly live out the mission of sharing good books with children. Through innovative corporate and publishing partnerships, they provide free new books to programs that serve in low-income settings.
Here are some of the facts:
–reading interest tripled among children who received new books from First Book
—expanded literacy efforts in 99.2 percent of programs that receive books
–increased reading in the homes of 70% of the children who receive books
–growing impact with more than 25, 000 programs registered and hundreds joining each week
—efficient, mission-driven service to communities and children with 97 cents of every dollar donated supporting First Book’s efforts to provide new books to children in need
Let’s hear about this remarkable organization from the First Book Canada team itself. How did First Book Canada come to be?
In 1992, Kyle Zimmer, then a corporate attorney, was volunteering regularly at a soup kitchen in Washington DC. When staff at the soup kitchen asked kids to bring in books to share, some of them brought in phone books because they were the only books in their homes.
Realizing that the kids she was working with had no books to call their own, she set out with some friends to remedy the situation. First Book began operations in the United States in 1992 and First Book Canada launched operations in 2009. Since then, First Book Canada has distributed over 2 million brand-new books to kids from low-income families all across the country.
What difference has sharing books made in the lives of the First Book Canada team members?
Sharing brand-new books with teachers and kids has shown us how magical books are. When we see the joy and excitement in a teacher’s face as she’s picking up books for her students, we know that these kids are experiencing something special at school and at home. We can only imagine how delighted their parents must be that their kids are bringing home backpacks full of books to call their own! We know these quality books are strengthening curriculum and that each book will help a child become a stronger reader.
What is a memorable experience you’ve had in your work at First Book Canada?
One memorabe moment from working at First Book Canada was when we held a Reading Party at Brampton Public Library with author Kevin Sylvester. For these kids, it was the first time they had an author visit ad speak to them about his book. It was too fun getting to see kids interact with Kevin and have them share their opinions about his book.
The great thing about First Book Canada Reading Parties is that our authors are always engaging and want to share how fun books are with everyone around them. We also had volunteers from Target come in and read with the kids afterwards, and I think sharing that experience was memorable for both the students and volunteers. We got to see their imaginations light up and really saw a love of reading start to develop in these kids.
If you were to share one dream you have for your organization, what would it be?
One of our dreams is that each child in Canada grows up with many books to call their own. We want to see each child grow up a strong reader and to end illiteracy in Canada.
Ending illiteracy! Now that’s a dream we can all support. Thank you to First Book Canada for your inspiring work.
If you know of an organization that may fit First Book Canada’s mandate, don’t delay! Get in touch with First Book Canada today. Register here: http://www.firstbookcanada.org/receive-books
Please check out this wonderful organization:
Website: http://www.firstbookcanada.org/ Watch the video spotlight on the home page to hear the story of First Book told by some wonderful children’s authors.
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