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Do You Remember Your First Book?

If you’re reading this column, it’s a pretty sure thing that you take reading and books for granted as a familiar part of your life. You buy books for yourself and for your kids. Chances are also pretty good that you read to your kids as a matter of course. So your kids, too, take books and reading for granted. And that’s a good thing, because research confirms what is all too obvious: children who grow up with books, kids who are read to, succeed in school while kids without them all too often do not. Access to books is essential to success in school. But access to books, even to public libraries, unfortunately can be a matter of economics, and lots of kids live in homes with no books at all. Enter First Book, a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. Working through local advisory boards throughout the country, First Book provides an ongoing supply of new books to children participating in community based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs. A unique feature of its mission is to give not just one but several books to the same child within a 12 month period. It’s a program that, unlike many others, makes small amounts go large distances. For instance, a donation of $25.00 buys 10 books. If you’re interested in making a big difference in a child’s path to a good life, if you’d like to donate or find out more about First Book and its local affiliates, go to