How First Book Helped Save the MLK Day Parade

Because of First Book, over 4,000 students are happy that they know about Dr. Martin L. King Jr., his legacy and love of literature. In the words of Dr. King, thank you for seeking happiness for others. Your continued support and inspiration for the MLK Parade of Book Project made the difference in the Pensacola community.
— Pastor Charles Morris, Bethel Youth Development

'Martin's Big Words' on the First Book MarketplaceWe got a call not long ago from Bethel Youth Development, a nonprofit that works with kids from low-income families in Pensacola, Fla. Every year, they host an parade of books on MLK Day in honor of Dr. Martin L. King Jr., and they needed 2,000 copies of ‘Martin’s Big Words’, a picture book that tells Dr. King’s story in his own words, as well as 1,000 copies of a second book, ‘Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’.

Award-winning books for young readers and some dedicated local educators working hard to get the resources they needed for their kids? Music to our ears! That’s exactly the kind of problem First Book was created to solve.

There was one difficulty. We didn’t actually HAVE those two books.

But every problem is an opportunity in disguise, as they say, so we contacted our friends at Random House, the publishers of both books, and because we were able to ask for so many copies of the books, they agreed to offer us both titles for the First Book Marketplace, our website where educators who work with kids in need can get high-quality, award-winning titles at a fraction of the normal retail cost.

Bethel Youth Development and their new books from First BookSo Bethel Youth Development was able to get the books they needed in time for the parade, and continue their amazing work with kids in Pensacola.

At retail price, the books would have cost over $32,000. But by working with First Book, Bethel Youth Development was able to get all 3,000 books for $8,150. (Sometime people question the value of giving new books to kids in need, asking why used books and local donations won’t do the job. But, as we have learned, not only are these channels typically insufficient to meet the needs of large programs like this one, there is an enormous value in providing something new to children who often have never owned a book of their very own.)

In addition to helping Bethel Youth Development in their important work, this was also a win for Random House, as they were able to reach these new readers with their books — readers whose families could likely not have afforded the books at retail prices.

We love stories like this.