Posts in category Authors & Illustrators
The school eagerly awaited the arrival of beloved children’s author and illustrator, Mo Willems: Elephant and Piggie posters decorated the hallways and windows of the school while the receptionist tried her hand at sketching the characters, and every available Mo Willems book was checked out of the school library.
As second-grade students entered the library to celebrate Friendiversary with Mo Willems himself, costumed Elephant and Piggie characters greeted the students at door. After a grand entrance, Mo read two of his books – There Is A Bird on Your Head! and I Am Invited To a Party! He then conducted a Q&A with the second graders who asked him all sorts of questions. “Why did you work for Cartoon Network?” asked one of the students. “Do you have a pet pigeon?” asked another.
Mo then informed the second graders that they would each be taking home their very own Friendiversary book and the library erupted with deafening screams of excitement. Students immediately began opening their books, each of which were personally signed by Mo. Smiles were on every face and many were sharing and showing their books to friends.
Friendiversary doesn’t have to be celebrated in February, it can be celebrated at any time of the year! Here’s how you can throw your very own Friendiversary party:
- Get Friendiversary books for the second grade students in your program.
- Invite everyone to a party!
- Read together with friends and celebrate Friendiversary, an annual celebration of friendship and reading.
At First Book, we love celebrating Friendiversary each year, partly because we love Mo Willems, but mostly because it’s one more way to get new, quality books into the hands of kids in need, and seeing those kids become excited readers is what we’re all about.
For the third year in a row, our friend Mo Willems, beloved children’s author & illustrator, will be providing brand-new Elephant & Piggie books and activity kits to kids in need!
The books and activity kits will go to second grade students in New Orleans, Springfield and Holyoke, Mass. (These places have special meaning for Mo; he grew up in New Orleans and now resides in Massachusetts.)
Mo’s Elephant & Piggie characters inspired First Book to create Friendiversary, an annual celebration of friendship and reading. After all, who better exemplifies the meaning of friendship than Elephant & Piggie?
You can help second-graders across the country celebrate Friendiversary on Feb. 26! Click here to donate.
For every $33 donated, 10 second grade students will receive their own Mo Willems books and activity kits for the celebration.
Read Across America Day is fast approaching; on March 1, children across the country will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by reading ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and other childhood favorites.
But, as much as we love Dr. Seuss, the READING part is the important bit. At First Book, we will always line up for cake and ice cream, but books and reading come first. Because kids who read at home become stronger, more capable readers, and that’s the critical ingredient in become successful — in school and in life.
‘Read Across America’ is an annual event sponsored by our friends at the National Education Association (NEA). First Book is proud to do our part for such a critical issue.
Here’s what you can do:
- If you work with kids from low-income families, sign your program or classroom up with First Book. We can help you get new, high-quality books, including (naturally) ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and other Dr. Seuss favorites.
- If your program is already signed up with First Book, visit the First Book Marketplace to get some great Dr. Seuss titles for your kids.
- Take the NEA’s ‘Read Across America’ pledge.
And most importantly of all, take the time to read to a child in your life. You’ll both be glad you did.
On Saturday, volunteers from across the country joined First Book on the National Mall in Washington DC to celebrate President Obama’s National Day of Service by providing 15,000 brand-new books to DC-area children from low-income families.
First Book was one of seven nonprofits featured at the event, highlighting the idea of community service in such areas as education, the environment and support for military families.
Each volunteer packed two books into a bag, and decorated bookplates with personal messages.
The books, including “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Doreen Rappaport, were provided thanks to the generous support of our friends at KPMG, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, through its KPMG’s Family for Literacy program.
The bags will be distributed in the coming days to students throughout DC, thanks to First Book’s partnership with the American Federation of Teachers.
Even if you weren’t able to join us on the National Mall, you can still bring new books to kids in need. Click here to donate to our National Day of Service Virtual Book Drive. Every $2.50 provides one new books to a child in need.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an author because I wanted to find one of my books on the library shelves. Seriously, that was my dream: a big “PE” (for PERL) sticker on the spine and everything. While I must confess that seeing my books on an alphabetized bookshelf still gives me a thrill, I now know that this is not the best part of writing for children.
The best part, hands down, is sharing my books with kids.
While some kids are fortunate enough to get to meet authors like Jeff Kinney and Suzanne Collins at book stores, festivals, and even their own schools, many kids are not so lucky. And many schools and programs do not have the resources or budgets to bring in authors to visit and meet with their students. Luckily, there are great organizations that work to bring authors and illustrators to kids who might otherwise never meet them. And many of these organizations partner with First Book so every child in attendance receives a brand new signed book to keep.
For example, here in the greater Washington, DC area, there are several groups that facilitate author visits for programs and schools serving children in need. For example, last month I had a great visit to Washington DC’s Garfield Elementary School with Turning the Page. At this Community Night event, I got to lead a standing-room-only crowd of kids and parents in a spirited reader’s theater performance of Chicken Butt! Last month I also had the pleasure of visiting Govans Elementary School in Baltimore with Write Brain Kids. It was a huge treat to hear the fourth grade students try out their “Ace” voices as they chuckled over scenes from When Life Gives You O.J. In addition to those two programs, I have worked with many Washington DC area programs including An Open Book Foundation, PEN-Faulkner’s Writers in Schools (WinS) program, and The Reading Connection. Through First Book, authors and illustrators are able to connect with similar programs serving communities across the United States and in Canada. Examples that come to mind include The Foundation for Children’s Books in Boston, and New York City’s Behind the Book.
Each program is unique in its format and age focus but all have certain things in common: they serve schools and programs where a published author or illustrator is not someone the kids usually get to meet, they give kids books to call their own and they succeed in getting kids super-excited about reading, writing, drawing and books!
And one more thing: they all have as much of a positive impact on the authors as they do on the kids!
UPDATE: The vote has ended! Over 13,000 people cast their ballots for their favorite children’s book, and we’ve announced the winner! Thanks to everyone who participated!
We’ve updated this blog post with the complete list of titles, for posterity’s sake.
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At First Book, our mission is to provide new, high-quality books to children from low-income families. We’ve gotten pretty good at it over the last twenty years. In fact, we’re about to distribute our 100 millionth book, and we want YOU to help us choose what it should be.
We know that books are critical to turning kids into readers and helping them become success stories – in school and in life. So we’ve put together a list of ten amazing books that we think every child should own as they grow up.
- A Wrinkle in Time (Macmillan)
- Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Simon & Schuster)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams)
- Eating the Alphabet (Houghton Mifflin)
- Green Eggs and Ham (Random House)
- Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick Press)
- Martin’s Big Words (Disney Publishing Worldwide)
- The Snowy Day (Puffin)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (Hachette)
- Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins)
These aren’t just some of our favorites. These books are some of the all-time best-selling titles available on the First Book Marketplace, a website available exclusively to educators and program leaders that work with kids in need.
Voting begins today, Oct. 29, and continues through Nov. 9. To vote, visit firstbook.org/vote.
The winning title will be announced on Nov. 15.
In addition to the voting website, copies of all ten books will be available as a special package to all of the 40,000 schools and programs that make up the First Book network.
Anyone who works with kids in need is eligible to get books from First Book. In addition to the First Book Marketplace, where over 3,000 titles are available at low cost, First Book also regularly distributes large quantities of brand-new books donated by publishers, free of charge. To sign up, visit First Book on the web.
First Book is happy to be partnered with the GM Foundation to bring books to kids in need in the Michigan area. Our partnership was kicked off by an event in Flint, Michigan for 400 kids and was hosted by the local Boys & Girls Club. Thanks to the support of the GM Foundation, we were able to bring 800 books to kids in need.
We were excited to have Flint native, Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery Award-winning author of “Bud, Not Buddy” and “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963″ (available at the First Book Marketplace) meet with kids and speak about the importance of reading and writing. As a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, Curtis returns to the university each year to host the Christopher Paul Curtis Writing Challenge, a program that invites every fourth-grade student in the area to participate in a creative writing challenge.
Since January, First Book has provided over 4,000 books to kids in Flint, Michigan. To get books for the children you serve, please visit http://www.firstbook.org/receive-books .
Guess who has a supporting role in an upcoming episode of CAKE BOSS? That’s right – First Book! Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the Cat in the Hat worked alongside CAKE BOSS Buddy Valastro to help bring thousands of books to kids in Newark. But concocting a culinary confection honoring the good Doctor is no small feat. Did fur and frosting fly? Did Cory Booker trade his usual Superman cape for the iconic striped hat? Tune in to find out! The episode airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. EST on TLC.
How did First Book end up in such esteemed company? As regular readers of this blog will recall, First Book participated in a very special Read Across America celebration this March in Newark. Working with some great local partners (like the Foundation for Newark’s Future, New Jersey After 3, and Anne Feeley), First Book helped the My Very Own Library initiative provide almost 60,000 brand-new books to students at eight Title I public schools in Newark.
In addition to receiving great books that they got to select themselves, the “icing on the cake” for the kids was a visit from Buddy Valastro and the team from Carlo’s bakery. Buddy talked about Dr. Seuss and the power of reading and imagination before unveiling an amazing, multi-tiered, whirling Dr. Seuss-inspired cake that he and his crew dreamed up and created for the event.
We think you’ll agree that the final creation was truly amazing. And from being there to see and taste the final results, we can report that it was delicious. The best part, though, was seeing the kids’ faces as they sat down with their brand new books and cake. One child looked so excited we feared he was going to topple over! Instead, he carefully sat down, took a bite, then opened his book and began to read.
If you’d like to support First Book’s work, volunteer in your community, or sign up your Title I school or local nonprofit to get new books, we’d love to hear from you.
Cricket, Ladybug, Spider and More: First Book Brings Award-Winning Children’s Magazines to Kids in Need
Exciting news! First Book will now be offering Cricket and other award-winning kid’s magazines to the 27,000 schools and programs in our national network.
Thanks to our friends at ePals, we’ll be able to offer their full range of children’s magazine titles, including Cricket, Ladybug and Spider. These magazines are terrific; they’ve won pretty much every award possible, and they are loved by teachers and kids.
“This is exactly the sort of content First Book strives to bring to kids in need, so they’ll have the same great opportunities to fall in love with reading as more affluent children,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “We’re really excited about being able to offer these magazines to the schools and programs we work with.”
The magazines will be available through the First Book Marketplace, our website available exclusively to teachers and program leaders who work with children from low-income families. An annual classroom subscription – 30 copies of each issue – retails for $1,018, but is available through First Book for $513.
If you work with children in need, sign up with First Book to get these great magazines for your kids. We also carry over 2,000 book titles at deeply-discounted prices, and distribute millions more every year – free of charge – to the programs in our network.