Mo Willems and First Book Bring ‘Elephant & Piggie’ Books to Kids in Need
Nonprofit and Author Provide 8,000 New Books to Students in Massachusetts and New Orleans
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 -- Mo Willems, author and illustrator of the award-winning Elephant & Piggie books, teamed up with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books for kids in need, to bring copies of Willems’ books to second-graders at Title I schools in Massachusetts and Louisiana.
On Tuesday, Willems joined First Book staffers at Peck Full Service Community School, a Title I school in Holyoke, Mass., for a reading party. Each second grade student received their very own brand-new Elephant & Piggie book to take home.
“Giving an age-appropriate book to a child who otherwise would not have one is the simplest, most impactful way to improve that child’s future success,” said Willems. “Thanks to First Book and the Friendiversary program, it’s easy for anyone (that means you) to help change the lives of young people in your area.”
First Book has provided over 8,000 Elephant & Piggie books to kids this year, at 117 schools in Holyoke, Mass., Springfield, Mass. and New Orleans, thanks to support from Willems and Disney Publishing Worldwide. Disney made the books available at a third of the retail price, and also provided activity kits, stickers and posters to each school.
This marked the third year of the ‘Friendiversary’ program that First Book and Willems created together in 2011 to celebrate the power of friendship (like Elephant and Piggie’s friendship) and the power of reading. The two communities are important to Willems; New Orleans is his hometown, and he and his family currently reside in western Massachusetts.
“We love Mo Willems at First Book,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Not only does he create wonderful books, he goes above and beyond to make sure those great books of his get into the hands of thousands of children in need. The Friendiversary program has expanded every year to reach more and more kids, and we’re excited to keep it growing.”