The other day I happened to hear the end of a story on NPR’s Morning Edition about this really amazing organization called First Book. The story struck a serious chord with me when research into the prevalence of books in different communities was shared. Dr. Susan Newman did a study 15 years ago, although this is a long time period, I believe that it is still relevant.
“We found a total of 33 books for children in a community of 10,000 children…Thirty-three books in all of the neighborhood,” she says. By comparison, there were 300 books per child in the city’s affluent communities.
To say that my jaw dropped when I heard this is an understatement. Let that sink in for a minute.
“On average, a premium picture book is about $18 at retail,” she says. “And you imagine who the customer base is that can afford an $18 picture book for their family. What you’re talking about is probably the upper 5 to maybe 10 percent of the socio-economic ladder.”
Here is why First Book is amazing; they are working together with publishers to get the cost of high quality books to a price point that will allow for those books to get into the hands of the children who need them the most and into their homes. What is amazing is that now different organizations can contact First Book and choose a book for $2.85.
Since 1992 over 120 million books have been distributed. That is amazing. This non-profit organization is doing amazing things for children and literacy.
Here is their website if you would like more information or to know more about what a donation can do for a child in need.