PBS and First Book Partner With Publishers to Bring 350,000 Books to Kids in Need

Books Donated by Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group are Available to PBS Stations Nationwide as Part of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ

WASHINGTON (September 19, 2018) – First Book and PBS are partnering to distribute more than 350,000 brand new books to children in need through local PBS stations embedded in communities across the country. The books, donated by Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group, will be distributed as part of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, an eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign created by PBS in partnership with the production company Nutopia. Hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, THE GREAT AMERICAN READ explores the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public.

“It is vital that children have access to books in order to succeed: in their homes, in their schools, and in the community programs that serve them,” said Kyle Zimmer, president, CEO, and co-founder of First Book. “Thanks to PBS and the generosity of our friends at Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group, we have an opportunity to reach more of the 32 million children – 44 percent of our nation’s young people – who are growing up in low-income families where books are scarce. We know that education offers children in need the best possible path out of poverty. We’re so grateful to these partners for joining us in this critical work.”

The books will be available to nearly 350 PBS member stations through October 31st.

“PBS is proud to partner with First Book, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group to bring these invaluable resources to at-risk communities across the country under the banner of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ,” said Bill Gardner, vice president of programming & development for PBS. “Instilling an early love of reading has lifelong benefits, and we hope that through this donation, children all around the country will discover that simple pleasure and embark on a path to becoming lifelong readers.”

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ launched with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 and continues on PBS stations every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), when the nominated books will be explored through themes including “Heroes,” “Villains & Monsters,” “Who Am I?,” “What We Do for Love”  and “Other Worlds.” Viewers are currently able to vote for their favorite titles at pbs.org/greatamericanread, through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter, through SMS texting using the dedicated book hashtag that can be found here and toll-free by phone, all leading up to the grand finale on October 23, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS stations when “America’s Best-Loved Book” will be revealed.

The full list of 100 titles, chosen from a demographically and statistically representative national survey conducted by YouGov, is available at pbs.org/greatamericanread.

Funding for THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is provided by The Anne Ray Foundation and PBS. In addition, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has provided grants, in partnership with PBS, to public media stations across the country to create local content and host screenings and forums to encourage summer reading and participation in the initiative.


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 375,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 175 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 5 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 firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About PBS

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 90 million people through television and 30 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices.

Media Contacts:

Connect with our media team or download our media kit via the First Book Press Room.

Atiya Frederick, PBS, 703-739-5147, anfrederick@pbs.org

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'.