First Book serves educators who serve kids in need.

First Book and Candlewick Press Give Kids in Need up to 100,000 Brand-New Books through Matching Gift Program

Partnership will triple donations at a time of year when need is acute

WASHINGTON D.C. (Dec. 7, 2017) – First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on creating equal access to quality education for kids in need, and Candlewick Press will jointly celebrate their respective 25th anniversaries this holiday season with a December gift-matching program that has the potential to bring more than 100,000 brand-new books to children in need across the United States.

Every $3 donated online at or sent by mail to First Book with a postmark through Dec. 31 will be matched with an in-kind donation of two books from Candlewick Press, up to 100,000 books.

“We at Candlewick Press have long sought to ensure that every child, regardless of their personal circumstance, has access to beautiful, well-made, high-quality books. We’re so honored to partner again with First Book to help bring the joy of reading to as many families as possible this holiday season,” said Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and group managing director of Walker Books.

Poverty affects children in need with broad, acute strokes that encompass everything from their emotional well-being to their academic performance. In a recent survey of the more than 350,000 educators who make up the First Book Network, nearly 85 percent of respondents cited the stress of poverty as the issue with the most direct impact on the children they teach, with almost a 40-point margin over the next most prominent issue.

“Make sure a child has at least one book with their name on it this holiday season — it may be the first and only book they have access to, and they will find so much more than words and pictures between the pages,” said Chandler Arnold, chief operating officer of First Book. “When children have access to books, it opens a door to academic achievement and increased opportunities for their futures. Candlewick’s generous donation will allow us to open that door for so many more children in need this holiday season, and we are so grateful. These gifts make a difference to us and, more importantly, to the children that receive them.”

Book ownership and a print-rich environment are leading indicators of a child’s educational success, but for the 32 million children growing up in low-income families in the U.S. alone, books are scarce. A recent study found that in one low-income neighborhood, there was only one book for more than 800 children, whereas in middle-income neighborhoods, there are 13 books for every one child.


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 350,000 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 For more information, please visit or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About Candlewick Press

Candlewick Press is an independent publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. For 25 years, Candlewick has published outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages, including books by award-winning authors and illustrators such as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature emerita Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, Jon Klassen, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed Judy Moody, Mercy Watson, and ’Ology series; and favorites such as Guess How Much I Love You, Where’s Waldo?, and Maisy. Candlewick is part of the Walker Books Group, together with Walker Books UK in London and Walker Books Australia. The Walker Books Group has a unique ownership structure that includes its employees worldwide. Visit Candlewick online at


Media Contact:

Melanie Boyer, First Book
(202) 639-0114

image of an educator reading to two kids from a picture book. There is text that says, 'Matching Challenge: Be a Champion for Educators! Your gift by May 31 can go twice as far to provide new, high-quality books and other resources educators need to help students unlock their full potential.' There is a red button in the bottom, right corner that says, 'I'll give now'.