First Book

First Book Press Releases

Dolly Parton donates 500,000 books to hurricane-affected areas through First Book National Book Bank

Donation to be made via One America Appeal in addition to donating 500,000 children’s books

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 17, 2017) --Today, Dolly Parton will assist with the ongoing relief efforts around the United States and its territories by making a contribution to the One America Appeal for Hurricane Relief to assist with immediate life sustaining needs of those affected. The One America Appeal is a joint appeal that was originally launched by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. This special appeal has been expanded to include areas most affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Dolly recalled, “After the tremendous outpouring of support my hometown received last winter after the wildfires raged through the area, I want to do my part to help other areas affected by natural disasters. I admire and respect this effort led by our Presidents so it is an honor for me to contribute to their work.”

In addition to the financial contribution to the One America Appeal, Dolly will launch a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the nonprofit social enterprise First Book, and Penguin Young Readers to provide 500,000 books to hurricane-affected areas through the First Book National Book Bank. To kick off the campaign, Dolly’s foundation donated 165,000 books and the $90,750 needed to cover the shipping and handling charges to make books available quickly and at no cost to educators affected by the storms. From Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy to last year's floods in Louisiana, First Book has distributed over 5 million books to families affected by disasters, in partnership with children’s book publishers, including a substantial book donation from Penguin Young Readers. Penguin Young Readers also partners with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and First Book to support their book gifting programs and other outreach efforts, with a special focus on getting books to children in times of natural disasters.

“I know in the immediate aftermath of a disaster books are not the first thing people need or miss. But I also know from our past experience that after some time has passed, families, schools and libraries are eager to replenish their shelves, and their hearts, with books. First Book asked us to join with them to get the right books in the right hands at the right time and we were pleased to do so,” said Dolly.

If you would like to learn more or donate to this effort—or if you work with a school or program affected by the storms—please visit http://bit.ly/hurricanebookrelief.

Schools and programs affected by the storms can sign up for free with First Book and will then receive information about how to request books; each book distribution will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

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About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Founded in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting organization that has, to date, mailed nearly 100 million books to children in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Each month, the program currently mails a specially selected, high-quality, age-appropriate book to over 1 million registered children from birth until they start Kindergarten in participating communities. Thousands of local, sponsoring organizations provide funding and support to the program. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading in children, preparing them for school and inspiring them to dream. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language development. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in North America exclusively serving kids in need.

About Penguin Young Readers

Penguin Young Readers is one of the leading children's book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Kathy Dawson Books, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Viking, Razorbill, Speak, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Ally Condie, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Dessen, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Oliver Jeffers, Marie Lu, Mike Lupica, Richelle Mead, Richard Peck, Ruta Sepetys, Jacqueline Woodson and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, the Rangers Apprentice, Skippyjon Jones, Who Was?, and Flower Fairies among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House company.
Media Contacts:

Dollywood
Pete Owens, 865-428-9486 or 865-755-7972
Director of Communications
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or
Wes Ramey, 865-428-9484 or 865-640-3805
Public Relations Manager
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or
Amber Davis, 865-428-9601 or 865-591-1002
Publicist
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or
Ellen Liston, 865-428-9629 or 865-919-7001
Publicist
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First Book
Melanie Boyer, 202-669-2501
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The Ashley Bryan Center and First Book Distribute 15,000 Special Editions of Award-Winning "Beautiful Blackbird" to Kids in Need

Second consecutive year of partnership marked by threefold increase in number of books distributed

WASHINGTON (Oct. 5, 2017) – The Ashley Bryan Center, a foundation created to celebrate the work of award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Bryan, and First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise founded to address education inequity, will distribute 15,000 special edition copies of Bryan’s Beautiful Blackbird to children in need in three states this month. The books will be distributed in Bryan’s home state of Maine; New York City, where Bryan was raised; and Atlanta, where Bryan’s art is currently exhibited at the High Museum of Art. The distribution marks a threefold increase of last year’s inaugural distribution.

Additional copies of the special paperback edition, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, will be available to members of the First Book network on the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.org), First Book’s award-winning ecommerce site serving educators working with children in need. It is the first time Beautiful Blackbird, winner of the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, will be available in paperback on the site.

Beautiful Blackbird is a vibrant celebration of diversity that reflects the joy and compassion of its very gifted author,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Ashley Bryan gave the world such a treasure when he created this book; it is never lost on us what a privilege it is to work with him and to distribute it to children who may not otherwise have any books at all. We are incredibly grateful to the Ashley Bryan Center for this donation, and we hope to continue working with them to share this story far and wide.”

In a survey of the educators First Book serves, 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. In the same survey, 87 percent of educators and program leaders saw an increased interest in reading among the kids they serve after distributing books from First Book.

Bryan, now 94, still paints and makes time to memorize Shakespeare’s sonnets at his home on a Maine island. Of the distribution, he said, “Fantastic! It’s not possible that there should be a child without books!”

Beautiful Blackbird’s story reflects the core of Bryan’s philosophy: celebrating each individual and “sharing the best we have to offer.”


About First Book


First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education — making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.

Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Ashley Bryan Center


The Ashley Bryan Center was created in 2013 to preserve, celebrate and share broadly the work of poet, artist, and author Ashley Bryan and his joy of discovery, invention, learning and community.  ashleybryancenter.org

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Media Contact:
Melanie Boyer, First Book
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(202) 639-0114

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Launches New York Women's Vote Centennial Project With American Federation of Teachers and First Book

Partnership will provide 15 educators from across the New York state with resources to implement a project celebrating 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul today launched the New York Women's Vote Centennial Project, a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and First Book celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in New York on November 6, 2017. The competition invites teachers to develop classroom projects and activities to mark the suffrage centennial. The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission will select 15 winners from across the State. Women in New York secured the right to vote in 1917, three years before the 19th amendment granted that right to women across the United States. 

"New York is the proud birthplace of the women's suffrage movement, and this competition builds on our rich heritage and helps bring the lessons learned from Seneca Falls and beyond to future generations of New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "I look forward to seeing the creative projects our teachers and students come up with to celebrate this historic anniversary."

Lieutenant Governor Hochul, Chair of the New York Women's Suffrage Commission, said, "New York women have always led the nation when it comes to furthering women's rights, and there is no better way to educate our young people about that history than in the classroom. The Women's Vote Centennial Project will challenge educators to create and develop classroom activities that will help our young people understand the importance of equality for all people. The goal of the project is to educate our students about the past and encourage them to use that knowledge to help create the building blocks for our future."

Projects may focus on women's history, civic engagement, the democratic process, equal rights, or a related topic. Educators and students are encouraged to explore the question: 100 years from now, when future generations look back, what will our equal rights legacy be? Projects for any grade, K-12, will be considered.

Applications can be submitted at this link and are due by October 11, 2017. 

Members of the New York State Women's Suffrage Commission will review all applications and select 15 winners, one from each region of the state and the five boroughs of New York City. Each of the 15 winners will receive $500 in books and resources to implement the project. Educators from schools serving low-income students will be able to use those credits in the First Book Marketplace. Other schools will receive the materials directly from the Women's Suffrage Commission.

"Igniting young people's interest in civic engagement is vital to strengthening and defending our democracy and ensuring an economy that works for all," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "As Frederick Douglass said, 'Power never yields willingly,' and the activists and leaders of the suffrage movement knew that big-time. Understanding what it took for women to win the right to vote can instruct and inspire us right now, in this moment when we are fighting off threats to the right to vote, and the right to have a voice in our democracy and economy. By teaching about the suffrage movement, we can help empower young people to act."

New York State United Teachers Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango said, "New York -- through the union movement -- has been a national leader in advancing the women's rights movement. In this centennial year of New York recognizing a woman's right to vote, it is essential that we continue to educate young people on women's history, advocacy and the democratic process. We are proud to be part of this important program and thrilled to again be teaming with First Book. This partnership means that educators will have the books and resources they need to bring this program to life."

"Understanding the women's suffrage movement, and how far we've come, is the first step toward addressing how far we still have to go," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "It's powerful to read the stories of the amazing women who championed women's rights. My hope is that with partnerships like this one, young people—girls and boys—will be inspired to dedicate themselves to advancing the cause of equal justice for all."

The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, is organizing programs to commemorate women's suffrage between 2017, 100 years from when women won the right to vote in New York State, and 2020, which will be a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified. The Commission's programs celebrate the accomplishment of women's suffrage and the central role of New Yorkers and New York State in this milestone, while also helping shape the future to ensure a more just and equitable society for all. To learn more, visit www.ny.gov/suffrage.

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About AFT

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education—making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more—affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in North America exclusively serving kids in need.

Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contacts:
Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Albany:  (518) 474-8418
New York City:  (212) 681-4640
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Melanie Boyer, First Book
(202) 639-0114
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Hot Dudes Reading Launches GoFundMe for Books in Hurricane-affected Areas

Redwood City, Calif. (September 18, 2017) — In response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, Hot Dudes Reading today launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to provide books to children in need across areas affected by the storms. Hot Dudes Reading, the Instagram account that celebrates book lovers across the United States, has partnered with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 170 million books and resources to kids in need—including a focused effort providing books to children affected by natural disasters.

“We are thrilled to team up with Hot Dudes Reading and GoFundMe to get books to children affected by the storms. First Book is working now to provide books to children and families in temporary shelters and other sites across the affected regions and will be providing books to schools, libraries, and other programs as they re-open their doors,” said Chandler Arnold, First Book’s chief operating officer. “First Book has already distributed more than 5 million new books affected by storms since Hurricane Katrina, and we know books mean so much to young people during challenging times—in addition to a new chance to learn, they also comforting stories at bedtime, the opportunity to visit faraway places through stories, and a welcome return to normalcy during what can be an uncertain time.”

Chronicle Books, Simon & Schuster, and other First Book publishing partners have donated 10,000 new books to this effort and 100 percent of funds donated will be used to get these books to kids in hurricane-affected areas. Every $10 donated will enable First Book to provide 18 new books to children affected by the storms (up to 10,000 books).

In addition to this campaign, GoFundMe has created a central location for all campaigns that have been created to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

To view the campaigns, click here:
For both storms, GoFundMe is working with state and local officials to ensure funds end up in the right place. GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety Team briefed officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida on the steps we take to protect donors and recipients, and we explained our guarantee that all of the funds raised on GoFundMe go to the right place. As mentioned above, 100 percent of funds raised by this campaign will be used by First Book to provide books to those affected by the storms. First Book is also included in Charity Navigator’s approved list of highly-rated organizations responding in the aftermath of the storm.

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About GoFundMe

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with over $4 billion raised so far. With a community of more than 40 million donors, GoFundMe is changing the way the world gives. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About First Book

First Book transforms the lives of children in need. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book is creating equal access to quality education — making everything from brand-new, high-quality books and educational resources, to sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more – affordable to its member network of more than 325,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 170 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 3 million children every year and supports more than one in four of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need. With an additional 1,000 educators joining each week, First Book is the largest and fastest-growing network of educators in the United States exclusively serving kids in need.Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

Media contact:
Melanie Boyer, First Book
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202.639.0114