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Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Books for the Hood

Thanks to Alexander Russo at District 299 for posting about a group called First Book, which gets brand-new books into kids' hands that they can take home and keep. Here's what Alexander had to say about them, via a tip from the Community Media Workshop:

"First Book recently established a Chicagoland advisory board, which is now reaching out to teachers and directors of early education and afterschool programs -- along with teen groups, tutoring programs, and ESL classes (some bilingual books are available) -- to participate in the program."

To reach their new Chicagoland advisory board, email
or call Peter Gray at 312-953-2894.

I just called and they are emailing me the application for a book grant. I'll see whether Chavez and Su Casa are interested. If you're interested, email me at and I'll forward you the application form. Established nonprofits are eligible to apply.

The tip from Community Media Workshop included a memorable statistic: while middle income neighborhoods have about 13 books for every child, poor neighborhoods may have only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.

If other neighborhood folks are reading, don't be shy about contacting them or me for the application. My recent experience giving away books around here indicates our kids are hungry for them. And just yesterday after school, one little boy from up the street told me he's been reading the book about basketball he picked out from the stack a couple of weeks ago.

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