At First Book, we want to see all children become strong readers, the critical step to succeeding in school and in life. But all too often the children we work with have books with characters and stories that aren’t relevant to their lives. And that makes it harder to turn them on to reading.*
In a study last year, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center reviewed thousands of kids’ books, and found that:
- only 3.3 percent were about African-Americans
- only 2.1 percent were about Asian-Pacific Americans
- only 1.5 percent were about Latinos
- a mere 0.6 percent were about American Indians.
Through The Stories for All Project, First Book is solving this problem by dramatically expanding the market for diversity in children’s literature.
- In March of 2013, we purchased $1 million worth of titles featuring a diverse array of characters from a wide spectrum of authors, all of which are available to the schools and programs we serve through the First Book Marketplace.
- In June of 2013, we announced a major commitment to action, including outreach to 30,000 new schools and programs, special collections of diverse and multicultural titles, matching grants to help educators get the books their kids need and an influential council of authors to help inspire new books and stories.
Because First Book aggregates the voices — and purchasing power — of thousands of educators and program leaders who serve families at the bottom of the economic pyramid, we’re showing the publishing industry that there is a strong, viable and vibrant market out there for books like these, and making them available to all children.
* In a recent survey of more than 2,000 educators from First Book schools and programs, 90 percent of respondents agreed that the children in their programs would be more enthusiastic readers if they had access to books with characters, stories and images that reflect their lives and their neighborhoods.