First Book’s Favorite Moments of 2018

2018 was quite a year for us here at First Book!

It’s our mission to remove barriers to quality education for all kids. With support from individuals like you, we’ve made a measurable impact on the lives of children in need and their educators across the country.

Here’s a look back at what we have been able to accomplish, and a few of our favorite moments from 2018:

  1. We Reached New Milestones! 

    We’ve grown quite a bit this year! Our community of educators is now 400,000 strong. To date, we’ve provided them with 175 million books!

  2. Release of the Book, The Wind Called My Name

    This March we wished a happy “book birthday” to The Wind Called My Name – a middle-grade historical fiction novel about a young Latina girl & her family settling in Wyoming during The Great Depression. Author Mary Louise Sanchez won Lee & Low’s New Visions award – an honor given each year to a previously-unpublished author of color. With generous funding from the NEA Foundation, Lee & Low expanded their New Visions award to publish multiple authors each year, and to create special-edition paperback editions of the books for the First Book Marketplace, making this title accessible to the kids we serve at the same time it’s available in bookstores!

    Read more about our partnership with the NEA Foundation and Lee & Low’s New Visions Award!

    Learn more about this book and its author Maria Louise Sanchez.

  3. Educator Reviews on the First Book Marketplace Launched

    We value the expertise of the educators serving kids in need and wanted to create a space where members of the First Book community can share their expertise, advice, and experiences with each other – specifically around how they are using books and other educational resources with their kids and in their programs. In August, we launched a new rate and review feature on the First Book Marketplace. We believe these reviews will help our members find the best books and resources for their programs, especially ones that they may not have used or encountered previously.

    Click here to find the First Book community’s highest rated titles of 2018!

  4. Using LEGOs to Build Resilience Workshops

    In June, we hosted 7 workshops for educators in Houston to help them learn how to teach Resiliency with LEGOs. We discussed how the activities and theories about learning through play could help their students develop resilience.

  5. Developing a Calendar to Help Celebrate Diversity in Classrooms

    Having the ability to successfully teach students who come from cultures other than one’s own is critical to the success of our increasingly diverse student population and society. With support from Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) & member feedback, we developed a calendar to celebrate diversity and inclusion in classrooms throughout the year!

    Read more & download the calendar here.

  6. Former First Lady Michelle Obama visits with First Book community members

    While in Los Angeles, CA this November for her Becoming book tour, former First Lady Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to a First Book community member program at Para Los Niños Tina and Rick Caruso Early Education Center, located in Skid Row, to spend time and read with a group of four-year-old children from an underserved area of Los Angeles.

    Read more about Mrs. Obama’s visit & her publisher Penguin Random House’s 1 million book donation to the educators and kids we serve.

  7. Bringing Jacqueline Woodson from Her Studio to 1,000 Classrooms LIVE!

    This December, we had the opportunity to spend an inspiring afternoon in award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson’s studio in Brooklyn, NY for our inaugural author webcast. We hosted two live webcasts in which Ms. Woodson discussed her writing process, her books The Day You Begin and Harbor Me, answered questions and interacted live with students around the country!

    We hope to host more author webcasts in 2019! Is there an author you’d like to have webcast into your classroom? Tweet us your suggestions!

  8. Fun with First Book Champions!
    • Author Jeff Kinney hosted a fundraiser in which books bought during the month of October at his bookstore, An Unlikely Story, were matched with a donation of the same book to First Book!
    • Eric Carle generously provided imagery from his iconic picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to beautify our year-end fundraising campaign. We are so happy to add his artwork to inspire hope, love and giving. Click here to watch Eric Carle talk about the inspiration his (now 50-year-old) book offers its readers!
    • This November Aree Chung, author of the picture book Mixed: A Colorful Story, hosted an innovative fundraiser to help cultivate the talent of up-and-coming children’s book authors as well as support our mission. Through his Storyteller Academy fundraiser, he raised over $5,000 for the children we serve!
    • NFL players Todd Gurley & Clinton McDonald shared their passions for literacy when they played a home game wearing our logo on their cleats for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.
      clinton McDonald raiders cause
      Oakland Raider Clinton McDonald poses with his First Book cleats at his reading party in Oakland, CA.

      These football champions also hosted a reading party in the cities for which they play!Todd Gurley hosted a party in Los Angeles, CA.

      Clinton McDonald and his teammates hosted a party in Oakland, CA.

      Each child in attendance of each party went home with a brand new book!

This is just a sampling of the magical moments of 2018. We are so grateful for all the milestones, partnerships, fundraisers, and fun we had this year! All of what we do is possible thanks to all of you in our community of educators, donors, partners, fans, and friends. Thank for being a part of a wonderful year. We are so looking forward to many more magical moments in 2019!

Click here to support our work through the new year!