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First Book Distributes 75,000 New Books to Teenagers in Five States

Project Made Possible by Walmart

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2011 -- First Book was able to distribute over 75,000 brand-new books at no charge to schools and programs serving children in Alabama, Florida, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and Georgia, thanks to support from the Walmart State Giving Program.

The campaign was targeted at serving teen and young adult readers, as part of First Book's efforts to improve high school success and adolescent literacy through the Readers to Leaders program.

Fifty programs in each of the five states received $500 credit from First Book, enabling teachers and program leaders to purchase new and popular titles on the First Book Marketplace, an award-winning online store available exclusively to programs serving children from low-income communities. In addition, programs across those states received thousands more books – free of charge – from First Book's National Book Bank.

"In the past we haven't been able to provide books to older readers to the extent needed," said Kyle Zimmer, First Book's president and CEO. "But that's changing fast; the selection of young adult titles we're able to offer to our network of schools and programs is growing, and we're on track to deliver even more resources to this under-served group this year."

"The generosity of the Walmart Foundation, as well as their commitment to literacy, is playing a big part in that effort," she said.

Less than one third of 8th-grade public school students read at or above grade level. The problems are even more severe for young adults in low-income communities – the average annual income for a high school dropout in 2004 was $16,485, compared to $26,156 for a high school graduate, according to a study by the Alliance for Excellent Education.

About First Book

First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 80 million free and low-cost books in thousands of communities. First Book has offices in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Walmart State Giving Program

Through its State Giving Program, the Walmart Foundation supports organizations with programs that align with their mission to create opportunities so people can live better. The State Giving Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations serving a particular state or region.