From everyone at First Book, a hearty welcome and a sincere ‘thank you’ to all our new followers on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and an equally heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all our supporters and partners who shared last week’s social media message far and wide.
Thanks to all of you, we gained over 33,000 new followers on social media, and – true to their word – our friends at Random House Children’s Books will be donating 33,000 new books to First Book to distribute to kids in need all across the country. Outstanding work! Gold stars all around!
But you might be wondering “So what?”
30 Million Kids in Need
It’s a fair question. Is that a lot of books, in context? Where do they go? Do they have a meaningful impact? What about used books, e-books, library books, reading programs and a thousand other things?
At First Book, we recognize the complexity and intractability of the problem. There are 30 million children living in low-income families in the United States, and those kids don’t have a lot of things that other kids do. Economic security, physical safety, adequate food, shelter and healthcare … the list is long, daunting and hurts to think about.
One thing we know is that a solid, comprehensive education is the best chance many of those kids have at succeeding in life. Another thing we know is that there are hundreds of thousands of unbelievably dedicated teachers, volunteers and community program leaders working their hearts out every day to provide those educations. It’s not an easy job, and there are no guarantees.
But without basic tools, that hard job is a lot harder. Which is where First Book comes in.
Books to Kids Who Need Them
We work with great publishers, like Random House, to get books. Some are donated, and some we buy, but the critical thing is that they are high-quality, and there are a lot of them; last year we distributed 8 million new books. (There are lots of great programs that deal with gently-used and donated books, and we support and applaud them, but for what we’re trying to do, we need to be able to offer educators large quantities of new books. It’s important.)
Those books go to schools and programs all over the country. They’re used in classrooms and in libraries, at after-school programs and tutoring programs, at food banks and homeless shelters, church groups, Head Start programs and public charter schools. First Book works with 27,000 programs, but we know we’re just scratching the surface.
So that’s what. You did a little tiny bit of good when you clicked that button or shared that Twitter message, and lots of little tiny bits of good can add up to something real. It’s a big effort, and the stakes are unimaginably high, so we’re glad you’re here.