First Book has created a collection of books aimed at young Hispanic readers, the nonprofit social enterprise announced Monday. The collection will be available exclusively to teachers and community leaders serving kids in need.
Educators who serve children in need can sign up with First Book to get ongoing access to brand-new, high-quality books for free or at low cost, according to a news release.
More than 5,000 teachers and program leaders from Hispanic communities have signed up since last year, and First Book has pledged to reach 5,000 more by April.
The nonprofit is also offering a collection of 50 titles for elementary school students, free of charge by way of funding from Disney, to more than 2,600 classrooms and programs.
"To become strong readers, kids need to have books in their hands that they're excited to read," Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, said in the release.
"We hear from educators in Latino communities across the country who tell us that they need books that resonate with the children they serve, and now – thanks to the generosity of our friends at Disney – First Book is bringing tens of thousands of wonderful, brand-new books to classrooms and community programs everywhere."
First Book also bought 60,000 brand-new books, from a range of publishers, to create a Latino Culture collection of more than 200 titles. Those books are available now for educators and program leaders who work with kids in need.
"There is such a richness to the storytelling traditions and the legacy of multiple generations of Hispanics in our country," Roxana Barillas, First Book's director of Hispanic engagement, said in the release.
"We're committed to showcasing not only those traditions and heritage, but also the talents of up and coming Latino authors and illustrators," she added. "We want all children, not just Hispanic children, to be able to access these stories."
The collection is part of The Stories for All Project, First Book's ongoing effort to ensure that children have access to books with stories, settings and characters that reflect their own lives. Demonstrating to the publishing industry that there is a market for books like these will lead to more diversity in children's literature, according to First Book.
First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the U.S. and Canada.
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